Forest and Nature

The state of nature in forest areas




Forests are impor­tant for nature. They pro­vide typi­cal habi­tat for many plant and ani­mal spe­cies. Many spe­cies are adap­ted and bound to the forest envi­ron­ment like wood­pec­kersblue­ber­ries, wood insects like the Euro­pean stag beetle (Luca­nus cer­vusand wood fungi. This bio­di­ver­sity is impor­tant for the life cycle pro­ces­ses in the forestsThe­re­fornature and bio­di­ver­sity are pro­tec­ted by Natura 2000, a net­work of nature areas throug­hout Europe, and regu­la­ti­ons such as the bird and habi­tat direc­ti­ves. Species and habi­tats are monitored to eva­lu­ate the qua­lity of sites and effects of mana­ge­ment and policy stra­te­gies. Here infor­ma­tion is pre­sen­ted on the state of nature in forest areas. 

Conservation status and trends of habitats and species


Forests are the domi­nant habi­tat type in Europe, 35% (0.5 mil­lion km2of the pro­tec­ted areas is forest.


A vast majo­rity of the forest habi­tat assess­ments (75%) have a bad or poor con­ser­va­tion sta­tus and 20% (100,000 km2) are in need of res­tora­tion.


The trend in the sta­tus of forest birds is sta­ble for almost 40 yearshowe­ver spe­ci­fic spe­cies are deto­ri­a­ting (17%) and others are impro­ving (34%).


A vast majo­rity of the forest habi­tat assess­ments (75%) have a bad or poor con­ser­va­tion sta­tus and 20% (100,000 km2) are in need of res­tora­tion.

Deadwood: An important indicator for biodiversity


Forest dead­wood is a struc­tu­ral indi­ca­tor that mea­su­res habi­tat qua­lity. Dead­wood in forests pro­vi­des an impor­tant source of habi­tat, shel­ter and food for many rare and thre­a­tened spe­cies, such as insects, fungi and lichens, birds, bats and other mam­mals. Dead­wood is often remo­ved in com­mer­cial forests and even in pro­tec­ted areas, and this prac­tice is now moni­to­red across the EU.

Dead­wood volume per hec­tare and pro­por­tion of dead­wood volume to gro­wing stock, by coun­try, 2015.

  • Slo­vakia
  • Czech Repu­blic
  • Swit­zer­land
  • Lat­via
  • France
  • Lithu­a­nia
  • Austria
  • Ger­many
  • Tur­key
  • Esto­nia
  • Nether­lands



Inten­sive land mana­ge­ment, land use change and cli­mate change impacts are impor­tant pres­su­res that thre­a­ten nature values of forests. Also forest mana­ge­ment prac­ti­ces itself put pres­sure on forests. In Europe almost all natu­ral forest is repla­ced by mana­ged forest. The struc­ture and diver­sity of forests are affec­ted by the remo­val of dead and dying trees, clear-cut­ting, remo­val of old trees and reduc­tion of old-gro­wing forests.

About three-quar­ters of forests in Europe are even-aged, of which about 64% are beyond the rege­ne­ra­tion phase and have not yet rea­ched the mature phase. Nearly a quar­ter of Euro­pean forests are une­ven-aged.