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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