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Structural, compositional and functional aspects of forest biodiversity in Europe

Project ID: 39
Funded under: FP5-JRC


A joint paper of the UNECE/FAO secretariat and the EGEO Unit of the JRC, European Commission.

This paper aims at providing a comprehensive baseline assessment of the variety of forests in Europe - for a wide readership including politicians, environmentalists, foresters and researchers. Despite the lack of a universally accepted definition of biodiversity, a final list of biodiversity indicators and the lack of 'perfect' data, a pragmatic approach for assessing forest diversity across Europe by using existing data sets was taken.

The study attempts to do justice to forest biodiversity as a multidimensional issue and contains a broad analysis of structural, compositional and functional aspects. Internationally comparable data, and, in particular, the latest results from the Temperate and Boreal Forest Resources Assessment of the UNECE and FAO, have been used.

Examples of the aspects included in this paper are: natural and protected forests; structurally diverse forests such as mixed-species and uneven-aged forests; estimations of the numbers of vascular plants, birds and mammals residing in forests, as well as continuous processes, natural disturbances and anthropogenic influences. The challenge of biodiversity monitoring and protection, and the ways to tackle and improve the current practices, are also discussed.

Additional information

Authors: PUUMALAINEN J, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Environment and GEOinformation Unit, Ispra, (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: United Nations, New York and Geneva, 2001, pp.88. Free of charge. EUR 19904 EN; Geneva Timber and Forest Discussion Papers no. 22 - ECE/TIM/DP/22 This paper will be available at -
Availability: Available from European Commission, JRC Knowledge Management Unit, Ispra (IT) Tel: +39 033278 9843 or +39 033278 9864 Fax: +39 033278 9623 E-mail:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-1-116788-4
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