Forests in Europe and North America are growing but remain vulnerable to threats

Experts convened for a seminar in Geneva on 21 March 2011 titled How successful is Sustainable Forest Management in the UNECE Region? State of forests and forest management in the UNECE region in the context of current needs and challenges. The aim was to review the status of and trends in forests and forest resources in Europe and North America. The seminar consisted of three sessions: (1) A picture of the present and the past: overview of twenty years of SFM; (2) Wood resources — status, trends and challenges Session; (3) Criteria and Indicators — How useful are they for SFM assessment?

Findings from the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2010) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) were discussed and preliminary findings from the State of Europes Forest 2011 were considered. The State of Europes Forests 2011 report will be officially launched in June 2011 at the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe (Sixth FOREST EUROPE), in Oslo, Norway. 

In 2010, the total forest area in Europe, North America, the Caucasus and Central Asia (the UNECE region) was over 1.6 billion hectares — half of which is in the Russian Federation, and 37% of which is in the United States and Canada. Altogether, the UNECE region includes 40% of the world's forests, most of these forests being classified as boreal or temperate. Since the 1990s, the forest area in Europe, North America, Caucasus and Central Asia has been increasing steadily. Forest area in the region has grown by 25 million hectares over the last 20 years (a size equivalent to the surface of the United Kingdom), or an average of 1.25 million ha per year (equivalent to an area slightly smaller than Montenegro).