Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

European forests are in decline, according to Commission report

Only 45.2% of the European Union's trees were classified as healthy last year, according to the European Commission's annual report on the state of Europe's forests. The remainder showed signs of defoliation, or were seriously damaged, suffering losses of leaves or needles: 0....
Only 45.2% of the European Union's trees were classified as healthy last year, according to the European Commission's annual report on the state of Europe's forests. The remainder showed signs of defoliation, or were seriously damaged, suffering losses of leaves or needles: 0.7% had died.

And the situation appears worse in Europe as a whole, with the most seriously affected forests in Eastern Europe, outside the present borders of the European Union.

EU forestry experts monitor forest conditions from 5700 observation plots across Europe. There is also more intensive monitoring on 860 of these plots, which involves detailed chemical and biological analyses of the trees.

Their research has led to the conclusion, in this latest report, that Europe's forests are in a less than encouraging condition, and have been progressively deteriorating since 1992.

According to the report, broad-leaved trees, such as beech and several oak species, and maritime pines are deteriorating more than other species - although Scots pines seem to be doing better than in previous years.

The scientists cite the possible causes of forest degradation as drought and air pollution, with sulphur causing the most damage. Ozone - particularly in the Mediterranean region - is another substance that has a notably damaging impact on trees, says the report.
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