The benefits that forests provide to people are getting increasing attention in scientific studies and decision making alike. Wood, or timber, production is one of the major benefits and it provides an important raw material that can be used for various purposes. While information is available on how much wood is being harvested in Europe, it has generally not been clear where this is happening. In a recent study, a group of scientists, led by Dr. Hans Verkerk (European Forest Institute), investigated spatial patterns in wood production and, for the first time, developed high-resolution wood production maps for European forests.
For their study, the scientists compiled a dataset on wood production at regional level for the years 2000 to 2010 in 29 European countries. The authors found that spatial patterns in wood production were determined, to large extent, by forest growth rates, tree species composition and terrain roughness. The authors used this information to downscale regional level information on wood production to produce maps with a resolution of 1 square kilometre.
The use of wood affects multiple other benefits provided by forests to humans, as well as biodiversity in forests. These novel wood production maps therefore give insight where wood production could affect other benefits provided by forests to humans, as well as biodiversity. The maps can also be used to improve the assessment of potential and costs of woody biomass supply.
Explore further: Can we increase harvest of woody biomass from European forests?
"Mapping wood production in European forests," Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 357, 1 December 2015, Pages 228-238, ISSN 0378-1127, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.08.007