FO16 Directive forest habitat types
>> Background information
Current conservation status
Six habitat types of the Habitats Directive have been defined here as forests. All of these occur in the Boreal region while only two extend to the alpine region. Not all wooded habitat types have been included in this indicator: primary succession forests and alluvial forests have been listed under shores, bog woodlands and deciduous swamp woods under mires and mountain birch forests under alpine habitats.
The conservation status of the two forest habitat types occurring in the alpine region has been evaluated as favourable. Although the state of alpine western taiga and herb-rich forests may have been affected by the overgrazing of reindeer, these changes have been quite small on the whole, especially when compared with the changes to forest habitat types in the boreal region.
In the boreal region the conservation status of all forest habitat types has been evaluated as unfavourable. Situation is most critical for coniferous forests on eskers. There have been no considerable changes in the area of these habitat types, but their quality has deteriorated to a great extent. The absence of forest fires has resulted in closing of the canopy cover, which has also been accelerated by nitrogen deposition. Many species characteristic to esker forests have suffered from the decreasing exposure to sunlight.
No substantial changes have occurred in the overall distribution of forest habitat types. However, the area of all evaluated boreal forest types excepting herb-rich forests on slopes, screes and ravines has been assessed to have shrunken. The composition and function of all habitat types has also deteriorated.
Forestry remains the main threat to forest habitat types. In future, further pressures are likely to be inflicted upon forests by the harvesting of wood biomass for energy, which will decrease the amount and diversity of dead wood and the species associated with it. In the case of some forest habitat types such as old broad-leaved deciduous forests problems are also caused by the small size and isolation of sites.
- Updated (14.05.2013)