The latest forest statistics (2020) released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations provides some fascinating insights into the state of health of European forests and forest cover across its countries.

Across the 50 territories of Europe there are 1,017,000,000ha of forests; an increase of 23 million hectares since 1990. Overall, forests cover 46.0% of Europe, storing 55 gigatonnes of carbon in its biomass and 172 gigatonnes overall (forest soils make up this difference). In case you wondered what a gigatonne looked like, it is 1,000,000,000 tonnes or equivalent to 200 million elephants.

Finland is currently top of the league of European countries for forest cover with 74% of its 30,391,000ha forested, followed in second place by Sweden at 69%, and Montenegro and Slovenia in joint third at 61% each. Sadly for me as a British forester, the UK languishes near the bottom with just 13% of its 24,193,000ha covered with forest.

The map and graph below are both interactive. Move your mouse over areas of both and click to reveal further facts and figures.

Map of European Forest Cover in 2020 (source FAO)

European Forest Cover by Country in 2020 (source FAO)

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FAO and UNEP. 2020. The State of the World’s Forests 2020. Forests, biodiversity and people. Rome.

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