TC Douglas Fir
TC Black Locust

Forests in Europe

Europe has 158 million hectares of forest (5% of the world’s total). In total, forests cover 37.7 % of Europe’s land area and the six countries with the largest forest areas (Sweden, Finland, Spain, France, Germany and Poland) account for two-thirds of the EU’s forested areas.

Forest coverage varies considerably from one country to another: while forests in Finland, Sweden and Slovenia cover nearly 60% of the country, the equivalent figure is only 8.9% in the Netherlands. Moreover, unlike in many parts of the world where deforestation is still a major problem, in the EU the area of land covered by forests is growing; by 2010, forest coverage had increased by approximately 11 million hectares since 1990, as a result of both natural growth and afforestation work.

Europe has many different types of forests, reflecting its geo-climatic diversity (boreal forests, alpine forests with conifers, etc.). Where they are located depends on the climate, soil, altitude and topography of a given area. Only 4% of forested area has not been modified by human intervention; 8% consists of plantations, while the remainder falls into the category of ‘semi-natural forests, i.e. ones shaped by man. The majority of European forests are privately owned (approximately 60% of forested land) rather than publicly owned (40%).


The crooked forest, Poland (image by Tripfez)