France map

Forests account for 28% of France's land area and are some of the most diverse in Europe, comprising more than 140 species of trees. There are nine national parks and 46 natural parks in France, with the government planning to convert 20% of its Exclusive Economic Zone into a Marine Protected Area by 2020. It was one of the first countries to create an environment ministry, in 1971. Agriculture is an important sector of France's economy: 3.8% of the active population is employed in agriculture, whereas the total agri-food industry made up 4.2% of French GDP in 2005. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
54,755,700 hectares
Area of forest
31.0% of land area
Area of agriculture
52.5% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
1.8% of land area


66.8 million
Population growth
0.5% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP from agriculture
GDP per person
36248.20 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
5.10 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
10,371,240 hectares
Sixième communication nationale de la france à la convention-cadre des nations unies sur les changements climatiques (in French) (2013)

Section C: Policies & Measures: Agriculture and Forestry Rules/Regs favorable for carbon storage, includes Common Agriculture Policy: Promotion of agroforestry

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
National Biodiversity Strategy 2011-2020 (2011)

Strategic goal B: Preserve life and its ability to evolve; Target 6: Preserve and restore ecosystems and their functioning (p. 18)

  • This degradation of ecosystems and of natural and semi-natural habitats which constitute them is a major factor in the erosion of biodiversity. By contrast, a policy to improve habitats is an effective option to ensure that ecosystems function. 
  • Preserving and restoring ecosystems entails quantitative and qualitative commitments. This involves a mission to preserve ecosystems quantitatively, i.e. in surface area, and qualitatively, by monitoring their functionality, especially by reducing fragmentation which significantly diminishes their ability to adapt and deliver services. Ecological engineering which respects ecosystem functions must also be developed and promoted. 
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
5th French National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2014)

Question 5: 'What are the biodiversity targets set by your country?' (p. 3) 

  • Preserve, restore, reinforce and promote biodiversity, ensure it is used sustainably and equitably, successfully involve everyone and all sectors of activity

Question 7: 'What actions has your country taken to implement the Convention since the fourth report and what have been the outcomes of these actions?' (p. 4-7) 

  • The creation of protected areas: regional natural parks cover 14% of land area (mainland) & with increased requirements for conservation and restoration activities. Also, to combat fragmentation France is using a tool to maintain and restore ecological corridors: Green and Blue Infrastructure (Trame verte et bleue). The tool works by building an ecological infrastructure based on connectivity within a coherent network of protected areas
  • The green infrastructure includes core areas and corridors. They are set to cover all the national territory and are defined in planning documents at regional level (ecological coherence regional schemes) and taken into account in local town and country planning documents. As of 31 December 31, 2015 20 ecological coherence regional schemes are adopted (out of 21 to be adopted). The implementation process is ongoing and there is no overall view on that process at national level at the moment.
United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) National Reports
Rapport national en vue de la dixième session du Forum des Nations Unies sur les forêts (in French) (2012)

Section 2C: Protection of Forests (p. 9): ONF (National Forestry Office) has a ‘general interest mission’ working on restoration of mountain terrain (forest) as forests have a protective role

Rapport national volontaire à la onzième session du Forum des Nations Unies sur les forêts (in French) (2014)

Section 6: 'Since 2007, what activities taken to reverse loss of forest cover/increase area/quality of forests?' (p. 7): Restoration of forests through recovery plan for storm Klaus (reforestation: 210,000 ha)

Other (National Strategies and Plans, Rural Development Programs, Natura 2000 areas, projects, and goals)
Restoration target
10,371,240 hectares
National Forest Program (2006-2015) (2006)

Increasing the Use of Wood and Improving the Processing of Forestry Products for the Development of Employment and Wealth Creation (p. 10)

  • Reducing forest fragmentation and promotion of management groupings by: Using existing tools, or others to be created, to remedy the fragmentation of forested areas (p. 10-11)

Promoting Sustainable Forest Management that Combines Production with Biodiversity Preservation and Enhancement:

  • Increasing the production of major forest areas and anticipating climate change: by completing the regeneration of stands left severely damaged by the storms of 1999; by setting an ambitious target for total land area under sustainable management (two-thirds of total forest area); by formalising better forestry procedures in terms of density and resilience (choice of species, methods for replacement and treatment, production cycles), particularly in regional forestry guidelines (p. 11-12)
  • Preserving ordinary and exceptional biodiversity: by giving major forested areas the tools for adding to knowledge on ecosystems and forestry production factors. Building indicators for “ordinary biodiversity” and, specifically, composite indicators must be a priority; by limiting the fragmentation of the major forests and maintaining land connections between forest habitats (hedgerows, riparian corridors, ditches, etc.) (p. 11)
Fonctions de production des forêts (in French) (2014)

In 2014, 7.5 million hectares are covered with a sustainable management plan (there are several different management plans according to the forestry code), representing 48% of the total national area and an increasing trend of 10% between 2004 and 2014 (p. 175).

10 Keys to Understanding Agroecology (2012)

The goal of the project is to support farmers to help them produce differently. To that end, to help them produce differently. To that end, it brings to bear a range of resources and action plans. And it will help restore trust between agriculture and society (p. 3). 

At the close of 2013, there were approximately 140 methanisation plants on farms in France, an increase of more than 50% on the previous year. Since 2011, there have been around 70 new plant projects every year. The target for France is 1,000 farms with plants by 2020, which means the development of approximately 130 new projects every year between now and 2020 (p. 17). 

France's Forests

“Successive, ambitious reforestation policies and spontaneous afforestation of abandoned farmland have increased forest cover to 25 percent of the total land area.” (was 18 percent in 1900) -- Forest area is increasing in France, the reason why there is no reforestation policy as such.

Plan stratégique national de développement rural 2007-2013 (in French) (2007)

Axis 2 – Priority Action: Preserve the state of natural resources through sustainable agriculture – includes habitat restoration

Accord de Partenariat 2014-2020 - Full Report (2014)

Objective 5: Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Prevention: FEADER (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) will work on soils and on synergy with other funds to develop agricultural and forestry practices to increase ecological functionality and resilience of agro-ecosystems and forests to climate change (including agroforestry)​​​​​​

The partnership agreement is the document by which each EU member states agrees with the Commission on the priorities of european structural and investment funds mobilisation (ESIF, including in France European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The partnership agreement presents the initial assessment of the situation in France and expected results. Targets are to be set in operational programs defined by the management authorities. For the 2014-2020 period, French management authorities are the regional authorities.

A progress report of the partnership agreement is expected for the end of 2017 and then in the end of 2019.

FLR Assessments

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