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EUROPEAN

FORESTS

25% of the world’s forests are in Europe
–that amounts to 1.02 billion hectares

of forests, equivalent to the whole surface area
of China or 33.3 times the area of Italy–
Forests cover

45%

of Europe’s total land area.

GROWING
Europe is the only region
of the world with a positive
net change in forest area
during the last 20 years.
In this period forest area

in Europe has increased by

17 million hectares
(almost half of the area of Italy).

The growing stock in Europe
has increased faster than the area,
which means that the average
standing volume of wood per
hectare has grown.
Over the last 20 years,
total growing stock of forests
in Europe has increased by

8.6 billion cubic meters.
All this means that European
forests today:
• Cover a bigger surface
• Have more and bigger trees

HOW ARE
EUROPEAN FORESTS ?
are predominantly
coniferous

50%
25% 25%
are predominantly
broadleaved

are mixed

In most individual forests
in Europe the trees are largely
of the same age, in general
younger than
years old.

80

The area of old forests with trees with a wider
spread of ages is tending to increase slightly.

Forests in Europe are mostly
public owned:

10% (around 100 million

hectares) are privately owned

90% (around 900 million hectares,
of which, 800 million hectares
belong to the Russian Federation)
are public forest

European forests cannot be understood
separately from the human history:

70% of the

European
forests are
seminatural

4% are plantations
26%

are undisturbed
forests, mostly
located in remote or
inaccessible areas

BIODIVERSITY
European forests
are home to many
species that can
be found only in
these ecosystems.
Deadwood is an
important habitat
for a large number
of forest species such
as insects and other
invertebrates, and a
refuge and nesting
place for mammals,
birds and other
animals.

The average volume
of deadwood, both
standing and lying,
is about

20.5

m3/hectare
in the forests
of Europe.

Forests are an incredible
source of biodiversity:
not only because of the
diversity of species living
in the forests, but also
because of the genetic
diversity within the
different species.

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About
million hectares
(4% of the total area) of forests have been
protected in Europe with the main
objective of protecting biodiversity.

483,700
870,000

In 2010
hectares
of forests were managed for gene conservation and
hectares for gene production
in Europe, not including the Russian Federation.

Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
Source: FOREST EUROPE, UNECE and FAO 2011: State of Europe’s Forests 2011. Status
and Trends in Sustainable Forest Management in Europe.
http://www.foresteurope.org/full_SoEF