The protection of biological diversity is often dismissed – even by the Greens – as an “orchid theme” (sic!). The network of different species in the ecosystems ensures our survival. It’s not just about a pretty flower – or an ugly toad – disappearing. Extinction is pretty much the ultimate on our planet. It’s about entire ecosystems collapsing. That nothing grows on devastated soils except arugula and willow-herb. It is not for nothing that the research team on the planetary borders around Johan Rockström, the new head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, sees the decline in biodiversity as the most pressing environmental problem – even before the climate crisis. I want the EU to finally breathe life into its biodiversity strategy. States with a rich biological heritage often do not have the means to protect their treasures. That is why I will work to ensure that an EU nature conservation fund is finally set up to finance European refuges for endangered species.

But our wood use also has to be put to the test. Europe is a net importer of wood, although our forests are not always managed sustainably. Valuable primary forest is cleared, particularly in Romania, but entire areas of Finland are devastated for copy or toilet paper. In addition, wood imports from all over the world are processed into paper and one-way pallets or burned in biomass power plants. Forests represent valuable CO2 sinks. With careful management, large amounts of CO2 are bound, and yet we can remove wood for useful (!) Purposes, such as building material. Burning down or clearing the tropical rainforest has a catastrophic effect on the planting of soy or palm oil plantations. I want to work to ensure that European primeval forests are effectively protected and that further areas are taken out of use. With reference to the Paris climate protection agreement, it is necessary to draw up guidelines for the management of useful forests in order to secure their function as a CO2 sink or to establish them in the first place. At the same time, this promotes biodiversity!

 

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