Submitted by: Martyn Eustace 07/05/2012
Jointly prepared by FOREST EUROPE Liaison Unit Oslo, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). There is no better time to issue this comprehensive analysis of forests in the pan-European region than 2011, the International Year of Forests. Information and work related to forests is indeed at an all-time high, and the political attention given to forests and sustainable forest management is rising in the pan-European region, as well as globally. Since the 1990s, the forest area in Europe has been increasing steadily. In the FOREST EUROPE region alone, the forest area increased by 17 million hectares in the last two decades. In addition to forest area, the volume of wood in pan-European forests is growing and a steady amount of roundwood is delivered by forests every year. While productive, European forests also play an important role in the conservation of biological diversity and the area of forest primarily designated for this purpose is expanding.Moreover, while globally, terrestrial carbon stocks are decreasing as a result of the loss of forest area, thus causing substantial carbon emissions, forests in the FOREST EUROPE region store and sequester increasing amounts of carbon in their biomass. The State of Europe's Forests 2011 report provides a comprehensive, up-to-date description of the status and trends of forests and forest management in Europe. The report aims to stimulate sound policy decisions on forests and forest-related issues in Europe by providing objective and harmonized data for FOREST EUROPE's Signatories. This Summary for Policy Makers presents a compact and comprehensive overview of status and trends, as well as challenges and opportunities for forests, forest policy and forest management in Europe. The report is structured according to the Pan-European Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management. For the first time, the report also contains an assessment of progress towards sustainable forest management, derived from a new, experimental method. The report further identifies four future challenges and opportunities for forest policy and forest management in Europe.