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Overview of results from the State of Europe's report 2020:
Forest Resources and their Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles: European forests are expanding, storing carbon, and supplying wood on a sustainable basis
• Forest area has increased by 9% since 1990, although the rate of expansion is slowing down
• The 227 million ha of forests in Europe cover 35% of total land area. Other wooded land accounts for an additional 27 million ha. Around 75% of the forest area is available for wood supply. 46% of European forests are predominantly coniferous, 37% are predominantly broadleaved, and the rest are mixed.
• A quarter of European forests are uneven-aged
• The volume of wood and the weight of carbon stored in the biomass of European forests have grown by 50% over the last 30 years as forest area expanded and only a part of the increment has been harvested.
• European forests are a major carbon sink; carbon stock increases in forests and in wood products
• About three-quarters of the net annual wood increment is felled.
• Every year in Europe, forests sequester in their biomass about a tenth of the carbon dioxide emissions produced in other sectors.
• Carbon stored in harvested wood products also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions.
• The volume of wood supply has grown, reaching 550 million m3, which is 40% more than in 1990.
Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality
• Deposition of air pollution has been continuously decreasing since 1997
• Soil properties show limited changes
• Defoliation is increasing
• About 3% of European forests are damaged, mainly by wind, insects, ungulate browsing, and forest fires
Productive Functions of Forests
• Increment in European forests substantially exceeds felling
• Europe is an important roundwood-production region
• Forests and other wooded land are an important source of non-wood goods, such as food and materials
• Market realisation of forest services remains underdeveloped
Biological Diversity in Forest Ecosystems: European forests contribute to biodiversity conservation, employment, and income of rural communities
• Stands composed of two or more tree species predominate in European forests
• Most European forests are naturally regenerated
• Introduced tree species cover 3% of total forest area
• Volume of deadwood corresponds to about 7% of growing stock
• The number of genetic conservation units has increased about 10 times since 1990
• Populations of common forest bird species are generally stable
• Over the past 20 years, the area of forests designated for biodiversity conservation increased by about 65% Protected forests account for almost a quarter of the total forest area
• Most European forests are open to the public, while 6% are primarily designated or managed for public recreation.
Protective Functions in Forest Management (notably soil and water)
• Protective forests prevent soil erosion, preserve water resources, and maintain other ecosystem services – protective forests form 32% of Europe’s forests
Socioeconomic Functions and Conditions
• 70% of forests and other wooded land are available for public recreation
• Forest area in public and private ownership is roughly balanced in Europe
• The forest sector contributed about 0.7% to GDP in Europe
• Net revenue in forestry is volatile
• Investments in forestry show a slightly positive trend
• About 1.1 m3 of wood is consumed annually per capita in Europe
• There are more than 2.6 million employees in the forest sector
• The reported number of fatal accidents in forestry decreased markedly
• Europe is a net exporter of primary wood and paper products
• Renewable energy from wood covers about 6.4% of total energy consumption