Covering 40% of the EU area, forests are a key resource for improving the quality of life and creating jobs, in particular in rural areas, the Strategy states, while also protecting ecosystems and providing ecological benefits for everyone.

Following a new approach, the Strategy "goes out of the forest", addressing aspects of the "value chain" (ie the way forest resources are used to generate goods and services), which strongly influence forest management.

The Strategy highlights that forests are not only important for rural development, but also for the environment and biodiversity, for forest-based industries, bioenergy, and in the fight against climate change.

Stressing the need to adopt a holistic approach, it also emphasises that the impacts of other policies on forests and developments taking place beyond forest boundaries should be taken into account. It also underlines that linked EU policies should be fully taken into account in national forest policies. Finally, the Strategy also calls for a Forest Information System to be set up and for Europe-wide harmonised information on forests to be collected.