Trade-Offs Between Forest Protection and Wood Supply in Europe

Pieter Johannes Verkerk, Giuliana Zanchi, Marcus Lindner

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25 Citations (SciVal)


Forest protection is one of the main measures to prevent loss of biological and landscape diversity. This study aimed to assess to what extent forests are currently protected and how felling restrictions affect the potential annual wood supply within 27 European Union member states, Norway, and Switzerland and to discuss trade-offs between intensified use of forest biomass and forest protection efforts. Protected forests covered 33 million ha (20 % of total forest area) in 2005, of which 16 million ha was protected for biodiversity and the remaining area for landscape diversity. Within the protected areas, on average 48 % of the volume cannot be harvested in forests protected for biodiversity and 40 % in forests protected for landscapes. Consequently, 73 million m(3) (10 % of the annual theoretical potential supply from the total forest area) of wood cannot be felled from the protected forests in Europe. Protected forests do not necessarily affect wood supply given the current demand for wood in Europe. However, if demand for wood from European forests for material and energy use significantly increases, the impact of existing protected forest networks may become significant after all. On the other hand, wood harvesting is allowed to a fair extent in many protected areas. Hence, the question could be raised whether biodiversity and landscape diversity within designated areas are sufficiently protected. Careful planning is required to accommodate both the protection of biological and landscape diversity and demand for wood, while not forgetting all other services that forests provide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1094
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physical Geography


  • Biodiversity
  • Bio-energy
  • Forest protection
  • Trade-offs
  • Wood supply


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