Forest area and cover

Forest area and cover are basics for sustainability assessments. Measuring forest area helps tracking changes in the forest cover, both gain and losses and support policies related to reforestation, afforestation and ecosystem restoration in Europe. Europe is one of the most forested regions of the world, with a forest cover of 136 M hectares (ha) in the EU27 and 166 M ha in the EEA38 region.

Forest area

Member countries report statistics on total land, forest cover and transitional woodland/shrub for the EU27 and the EEA38 region. Differences in definitions may result in different area estimates.

Land and forest area in 2018, ha


Source: Corine Land Cover (CLC) 2018 provided by European Environment Agency (EEA) and Copernicus Land Monitoring Service

Forest area per capita

In the EU27 region, the average forest area per capita is 0.6 hectares with large variation across the continent from 4.4 ha per person in Finland to close to 0 in the Netherlands

Forest area in 2018, ha per capita


Land cover statistics

The main land cover and land use classes in the EU27 are:
• Artificial areas
• Agriculture areas
• Forests
• Semi-natural areas
• Wetlands
• Water bodies

Land cover area in 2018, ha


Land cover by biogeographical regions

Europe can be classified in nine biogeographical regions:
• Boreal
• Continental
• Mediterranean
• Alpine
• Black sea
• Anatolian
• Steppic
• Macaronesian
• Arctic

Land cover area by geographical regions in 2018, ha


EU27 forests compared to large forest countries in the world

Europe’s forests is among the largest forest area compared to the most forested countries in the world

Forest area in 2020, % of world forest area


Forest patch size distribution

Almost half of EU27 forests were large and continuous forests areas in 2018. Large and intact forest ecosystems support characteristic, wide-ranging, and area-sensitive species, especially those that depend on interior forest.

Increased fragmentation means that the forest cover in the largest patch sizes will decrease and that in the small size classes will increase. At EU27-level, fragmentation has not increased over the latest decades.

However, deforestation may cause the disappearance of the smallest patches and a consequent reduction in the importance of that size class.

Forest patch area classes in 2018, % of country forest cover


Roundwood removals

European forests experience turnover of about 19% as roundwood is removed use by industry and for energy. The removals of roundwood from forests have increased steadily only interrupted for a few years around the financial crisis in 2008.

Removals of roundwood per year, k m3


Growing stock

The growing stock volume in the EU27 has increased steadily over the last decades, whereas the utilisation rate of wood from the EU27 forests stays within a sustainable use of the resources.

Growing stock per year, M m3


Forest economics

Forest economics expressed as total output from forest activities and gross value added

Forest economics in 2018, M EUR