The Forest Law of 23 August 2023

The Forest Law of 23 August 2023 (“Forest Law”) entered into force on 1 October 2023.  The Forest Law was introduced with the aim to creating a robust and coherent general legal framework for Luxembourg forests, bringing together the main previously existing texts in a single, structured piece of legislation.

The objectives of the Forest Law are multiple: ensuring the sustainable management of forests so that they can fulfil their ecological, economic and social functions in a balanced way; protecting them, as a natural and landscape environment; conserving and enhancing biological diversity in forest ecosystems; maintaining the national extent of forests and their distribution between ecological regions; maintaining the health and vitality of forests so that they can contribute to the carbon cycle and the protection of water and soil, and maintaining and promoting forestry and the forestry economy.

As to its scope, the Forest Law applies to all forests in Luxembourg, i.e. both public (communal, state-owned, belonging to public establishments) and private.

The following features of the Forest Law are particularly noteworthy:

  • Citizens are given more rights, but also more responsibilities. They now have the explicit right to walk on all forest roads and paths, a right that did not exist until now. In return, citizens are obliged not to damage these.
  • The protection of nature and the development of forests are a key focus of the law :
    • better protection and management of forests and biodiversity;
    • timber harvesting and forest regeneration are regulated, with more ambitious rules for public forests;
    • monitoring and incentive measures are introduced to promote good forest management, including a national forest inventory and subsidies.

A High Forestry Council is set up to make proposals to the Minister concerning forests, to give its opinion on any problems or proposals submitted, and above all to organise and manage a platform for discussion and participative exchange between all forestry stakeholders.