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Forest Legislation in Europe: How 23 Countries Approach the Obligation to Reforest, Public Access and Use of Non-Wood Forest Products

This report presents the results of an extra budgetary project which analyses similarities and common approaches in European national forest legislation. The forest laws of 23 countries have been examined in order to find out whether provisions are made to put into practice the following three legal issues: (1) reforestation obligations after logging through final cutting or loss of forest cover due to fire and natural calamities, (2) regulations concerning public access to forests and (3) public use of non-wood forest products occurring on forest land. All three legal issues are addressed by the analysed national legislation. In most countries legislation includes regulations for obligatory reforestation Public access to forests is allowed in most of the analysed countries, although, forest owners have specific rights to limit such access. Limitations exist mainly with regard to nature protection in order to protect replanted or naturally regenerated forest stands. In most of the examined countries the public has usage rights to collect some non-wood forest products: Considerable variations between countries are to be found; the practise of such rights usually requires consent or authorisation from the forest owner; and many rights may be subject to regulation and specific restrictions.