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Forest: deadwood

Indicator Specification Created 09 Jul 2014 Published 19 Feb 2015 Last modified 16 Mar 2015, 02:54 PM
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Contents
 

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Justification for indicator selection

MAIN ADVANTAGES OF THE INDICATOR

  • Biodiversity relevance: deadwood is a measure of habitat quality relevant for thousands of European forest organisms, several of which are threatened. Data on deadwood can be collected at relatively low cost in national forest inventories and the indicator is reported by countries according to agreed definitions.
  • Accepted methodology.
  • Geographical coverage: pan-European.

Scientific references:

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

This indicator shows the volume of standing and lying deadwood in forest and other wooded land, classified by forest type (Forest Europe - Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE)). In national forest inventories, countries generally classify according to type (standing, snags, lying, species and state of decay).

Units

tonnes/hectare
cubic metre/ha

Policy context and targets

Context description

Deadwood (coarse woody debris) in the form of snags (dead standing trees) and logs (dead lying trees) is a habitat for a wide array of organisms and, after humification, an important component of forest soil. During some parts of their life cycle, some species are dependent on finding a place to live either on the surface or in the cavities/protected places of dead or dying wood of moribund or dead trees (standing and fallen), or upon wood-inhabiting fungi or other species. Because of a lack of deadwood in multipurpose forests, many of the species dependent on deadwood are endangered.

At present it is still debated what amount of deadwood is required in order to maintain the most valuable species and under what circumstances the accumulated deadwood component may give rise to a risk for insect outbreaks.

Relation of the indicator to the focal area

Decaying wood habitats are important components of biodiversity in European forests and recognised as an indicator for assessing and monitoring biodiversity as well as sustainable forest management.

Targets

2020 EU biodiversity targets - target 3: Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to biodiversity
...........................

Related policy documents

  • EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy
    in the Communication: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011) 244) the European Commission has adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal. The six targets cover: - Full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity - Better protection for ecosystems, and more use of green infrastructure - More sustainable agriculture and forestry - Better management of fish stocks - Tighter controls on invasive alien species - A bigger EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss

Key policy question

What is the trend in the amount of deadwood in Europe’s forests?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Definition of terms:

Terminology is well defined for international reporting by Forest Europe. Deadwood (coarse woody debris) as such, and the methodology for reporting its volume are thus defined according to Forest Europe standards.

On a national scale, the monitoring of deadwood is carried out in several National Forest Inventories (NFIs). Work towards the harmonisation of terminology is carried out by the COST E43 action. This comprises type classification (standing, bending, lying) as well as potentially important additional parameters (uprooted stems, clearcut stems, pieces of stems, cut branches, uprooted staves, logging residues, fine woody debris, intact snags, broken snags, broken, lying stems without uprooting). There are several approaches to register state of decay, most commonly this is classified in five classes. Noting the tree species is desirable but data are not collected by everybody.

MCPFE has defined the following reporting of the indicator "Deadwood":

Measurement units

  • Status: m3/ha.
  • Changes: m3/ha/yr.

Figures to be reported on

  • Volume of dead standing trees (snags) and lying trees (logs) on forest area and
    other wooded land, classified by forest type.

Minimum length and diameter of standing and lying dead trees

  • Length: 2 m.
  • Diameter: It is up to the countries to define the minimum size of diameter to be
    reported. It is recommended that the minimum size be:

Standing deadwood: 10 cm d.b.h.
Lying deadwood: 10 cm mean diameter.

Methodology for gap filling

N/A

Methodology references

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF THE INDICATOR

  • The indicator is a general measure on habitat quality. It will not, at least not in international reporting, be possible to evaluate the indicator with respect to specific organisms, e.g. threatened species.
  • A minimum level of required deadwood to create suitable habitats in multifunctional forests is not yet defined. This will probably have to be done when developing management plans at landscape or stand scales. Huge amounts of deadwood may also be a risk (insect calamities, fire).
  • Methodology to measure deadwood differs between countries. Some countries also include tree stumps in the calculations. Numbers may also be influenced by the share of undisturbed forest (in which case figures for deadwood may reflect the share of undisturbed forest instead of the real amount of deadwood in production forests).

ANALYSIS OF OPTIONS

The 35 MCPFE quantitative indicators (http://www.mcpfe.org/documents/r_2007/ici)
all relate to sustainable forestry management. From this set, those with most direct relevance to biodiversity were selected.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Ownership

Forest Europe (MCPFE)

Identification

Indicator code
SEBI 018
Specification
Version id: 2
Primary theme: Biodiversity Biodiversity

Permalinks

Permalink to this version
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Permalink to latest version
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Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 3 years in October-December (Q4)

Classification

DPSIR: State
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)

Geographic coverage

Comments

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