Forest ecosystem condition

Major pressures affect the forest and their ecosystems. Harmonised methods have been developed to report main health indicators: foliar nutrient content, tree crown condition, and soil condition. The indicators are monitored with different spatial extent and temporal frequency. Not all these indicators are available for all European countries. Most sources aggregate the data at the EU level as noted in the graphs below.

Tree crown condition


Soil acidity is an important soil property that influences concentrations of important nutrients and minerals. Low soil acidity may cause unfavorable growing conditions for forests. 

Soil condition



Main disturbances on forest ecosystems

The main disturbances on forests comprise forest fires, diseases, insects and storms.

Forest area affected by fires, 1000 ha/year

The occurrence of forest fires increased in the last years.


Forest area affected by pathogens, 1000 ha/year

Although a large outbreak occured in 2009, the last few years have seen less than 1000 ha of forest area affected by diseases per year.


Forest area affected by insects, 1000 ha/year

Although a large outbreak occured in 2010, the last few years have seen less than 2000 ha of forest area affected by insects per year.


Forest area affected by severe weather, 1000 ha/year



Deforestation is defined as the permanent conversion of forest land to agriculture, grassland, wetland and urban areas. Deforestation covers forest areas where the impacts of disturbance, over-utilisation or changing environmental conditions affect the forest to an extent that it cannot sustain a canopy cover larger than 10 percent.

Harvesting and logging activities are not considered as deforestation when the forest regenerate naturally or by silvicultural measures.Includes permanent reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10 percent threshold.

Deforestation, 1000 ha/year



Forest fragmentation

Forest fragmentation is breaking large, contiguous forested areas into smaller forest patches, separated by roads, agriculture, utility corridors or other anthropological developments.

Fragmentation threatens forest health and vitality. Large and intact forest ecosystems are essential to maintaining a good forest and biodiversity condition. Increased fragmentation means large forest patches decrease and small forest patches increase.

Share of different forest patch sizes in 2018, % of total forest area


Invasive alien species in forest ecosystems

Invasive species are a threat to the local biodiversity and ecosystem. They often have no natural enemies in the introduced area.

Number of invasive species


Note on this: The data below is not necessarily applicable only to forests, but can have an impact on the country’s forest ecosystem.

Cumulative number of alien species