There are 178 million hectares of forests and other wooded land in the EU, about 42 % of its land area. Over the past 20 years, forests have increased by 5% - approximately 0.3 % per year - although the rate varies substantially between countries. Approximately 133 million hectares or 32% of the EU's land area is covered by forests that are available for wood supply.
Ecologically, the EU's forests belong to many different biogeographical regions and have adapted to a variety of natural conditions, ranging from bogs to steppes and from lowland to alpine forests. Socioeconomically, they vary from small family holdings to state forests to large estates owned by companies, many as part of industrial wood supply chains.
What are we doing?
Eurostat produces yearly data using two questionnaires,
- The Joint Forest Sector Questionnaire (JFSQ) on production and trade in wood and wood products. The JFSQ is part of a worldwide exercise in which Eurostat is responsible for the EU and EFTA countries. Our partners are UNECE, FAO and ITTO
- Integrated environmental and economic accounting for forests (IEEAF); countries are currently providing data on economic accounts for forestry and logging. IEEAF is part of a Eurostat environmental satellite accounts initiative that started in the late 1990s.
Why are we doing it and who are the users?
1) The Joint Forest Sector Questionnaire provides us with
A) Classical supply balances for wood products. The data have also recently been used for
- Modelling whether supply will match demand in the future due to competing uses for material and for energy
- Collating data for the UNECE Joint Wood Energy Enquiry
- Estimating carbon in harvested wood products for the post-Kyoto negotiations
B) Comparisons of the EU with other big players, published by Eurostat and in
- UNECE annual market review
- ITTO monthly newsletter and ITTO annual world timber report
- FAO forest products yearbook
2) The IEEAF questionnaire
There is renewed interest from the countries in producing these data, the collection of which we re-started in 2008 after a break of several years. They show
- Economic viability in view of rural development, which informs the Common Agricultural Policy
- Employment in forestry and logging in annual work units
- The multi-functionality of forests means that economic viability is not the only focus, because forests protect water resources, prevent avalanches and mudslides from hitting inhabited areas and infrastructure, bind CO2 and provide habitats of high biodiversity. Countries wish to know what the costs for these services are.
How we benefit from our international partners
We have early access to data on wood resources produced by our partner FAO. This is mainly the five-yearly Forest Resources Assessment, where all countries in the world are asked to report and forecast numbers on topics such as forest area, wood resources and removals.
We also have early access to similar five-yearly data collected by the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE, also called Forest Europe), where in addition data on deadwood, biomass and carbon in biomass and forest soils are collected. UNECE processes these data for MCPFE.
Indicators produced from all data
We use all available data to produce classical data series, as published on Eurostat's database, and different kinds of indicators for special publications.