The European Union Biodiversity Strategy 2030 (EUBDS) aims to regain biodiversity through enhanced forest conservation and protection, which may lead to increased timber harvest in non-EU countries. We aimed to identify the potential leakage of biodiversity risks as induced by the EUBDS. We created an indicator framework that allows one to quantify vulnerability of forest biodiversity. The framework is based on 26 biodiversity indicators for which indicator values were publicly available. We weighted single indicator values with countrywise modeled data on changed timber production under EUBDS implementation. Nearly 80% of the indicators pointed to higher vulnerability in the affected non-EU countries. Roundwood production was transferred to countries with, on average, lower governance quality (p=0.0001), political awareness (p=0.548), forest coverage (p=0.034), and biomass (p=0.272) and with less sustainable forest management (p=0.044 and p=0.028). These countries had more natural habitats (p=0.039) and intact forest landscapes (p=0.0001) but higher risk of species extinction (p=0.006) and less protected area (p=0.0001) than the EU countries. Only a few indicators pointed to lower vulnerability and biodiversity risks outside the EU. Safeguards are needed to ensure that implementation of EUBDS does not cause harm to ecosystems elsewhere. The EU regulation on deforestation-free supply chains might have limited effects because the sustainable management of existing and even expanding forests is not well considered. Sustained roundwood production in the EU is needed to avoid placing more pressure on more vulnerable ecosystems elsewhere. Decreasing species and habitat indicator values nevertheless call for global conservation and protection schemes. The EUBDS helped pave the way to the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework. Yet, lower values for the indicators mean governance and biodiversity engagement in non-EU countries suggest that this global framework might not sufficiently prevent leakage of risks to biodiversity. Effective land-use planning is necessary to balance conservation schemes with roundwood production.

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