|CHAPTER 34: FOREST DEGRADATION - INTRODUCTION|
Forest damage has long been recorded and is caused by naturalphenomena (disease and pests, storms, fire, drought and other climatic stresses) or human-induced ones (eg, air pollution, fire, economic overexploitation, overgrazing), or by the interaction of human impacts and natural causes. This chapter focuses on the two most important causes of forest degradation across Europe: air pollution, which is a serious threat to the sustainability of forest resources in Central, Eastern and, to a lesser extent, Northern Europe, and fire, which is a major concern in Southern Europe. The degradation of forest quality in the sense of its authenticity is discussed in Chapter 9, where a non-exhaustive list of remaining semi-natural forests of ecological value in Europe is given. The overall changes in species composition, age structure and management are developed in Chapter 23.
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