Forest growth

Indicator Specification
Indicator codes: CLIM 034
Created 11 Jul 2008 Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 28 Jun 2016
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Current (2000) and projected (2100) forest coverage in Europe Impacts of climate change on forest growth and forest conditions

Update planned for November 2012

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)


Justification for indicator selection

Forests contain 77 % of the global carbon pool in vegetation biomass and hence play an important role in the global carbon cycle (Dixon et al., 1994; IPCC, 2007). Forests and woodlands provide many things that society values, including food, marketable products, medicines, biodiversity, carbon reservoirs and opportunities for recreation.
In addition, they regulate biogeochemical cycles and contribute to soil and water conservation. Changes in global climate and atmospheric composition are likely to have an impact on most of these goods and services, with significant impacts on socioeconomic systems (Winnett, 1998).
Management has a significant influence on the development of the growing stock and forest productivity. Adaptation measures include changes to plantation practices and forest management, the planting of different species mixtures, better matching of the species to the specific site, planting of similar species from their places of origin and non-native species in anticipation of climate change (Broadmeadow et al., 2003), and the restoration of forest typologies that could offer greater flexibility to climate change (Kolling, 2008).

Scientific references

  • References Bakkenes, M.; Alkemade, J. R. M.; Ihle, F.; Leemans, R. and Latour, J. B., 2002. Assessing effects of  forecasted climate change on the diversity and distribution of European higher plants for 2050. Global Change Biology 8: 390-407. Broadmeadow, M.; Ray, D.; Sing, L. and Poulsom, E., 2003. Climate change and British woodland: what does the future hold? Forest Research Annual Reports and Accounts 2002-2003. HMSO, Edinburgh, pp. 70-83. Casalegno, S.; Amatulli, G.; Bastrup-Birk, A.; Houston, T., 2007. Modelling Current and Future Distribution of European Forest Categories. Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Ecological Modelling: Challenges for ecological modelling in a changing world: Global Changes, Sustainability and Ecosystem Based Management. 27-30 November 2007. Trieste, Italy. Dixon, R. K.; Brown, S.; Houghton, R. A.; Solomon, A. M.; Trexler, M. C. and Wisniewski, J., 1994. Carbon pools and flux of global forest ecosystems. Science 263: 185-190. Eastaugh, C., 2008. IUFRO Occasional Paper No. 21: Adaptations of Forests to Climate Change: A Multidisciplinary Review ISSN 1024-414X Harrison, P. A.; Berry, P. M.; Butt, N.; New, M., 2006. Modelling climate change impacts on species' distributions at the European scale: implications for conservation policy. Environmental Science & Policy 9: 116-128. Heim, R. R., 2002. A review of twentieth-century drought indices used in the United States. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 83: 1149-1165. IPCC, 2007. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Parry, K. L.; Canziani, O. F.; Palutikof, J. P.; van der Linden, P. J. and Hanson, C. E. (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Kölling, C., 2008. Wälder im Klimawandel: Die Forstwirtschaft muss sich anpassen. In: Lozán, H. Graßl, H.; Jendritzky, G.; Karbe, L.; Reise, K. (Hrsg.) Unter Mitwirkung von W. A.; Magnuson, J. J.; Robertson, D. M.; Benson, B. J.; Wynne, R. H.; Livingstone, D. M.; Arai, T.; Assel, R. A.; Barry, R. G.; Card, V.; Kuusisto, E.; Granin, N. G.; Prowse, T. D.; Stewart, K. M.; Vuglinski, V. S., 2000. Historical trends in lake and river ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Science 289: 1743-1746. Spiecker, H.; Mielikainen, K.; Kohl, M.; Skovsgaard, J. P.; 1996. Growth Trends in European Forests: Studies from 12 Countries. Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. pp. 372. Winnett, S. M., 1998. Potential effects of climate change on U.S. forests: a review. Climate Research 11: 39-49.

Indicator definition

  • Current (2000) and projected (2100) forest coverage in Europe
  • Impacts of climate change on forest growth and forest conditions


Policy context and targets

Context description

No context has been specified


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Key policy question

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

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

Hans-Martin Füssel


Joint Research Centre (JRC)
European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 034
Version id: 1


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