Forest Mapping


Information of the spatial distribution of European forests is needed for forest protection and conservation, forest resource analysis, climate change research and other forest related applications. There are several efforts of mapping forests at different, from regional to pan-European, scales. The regional efforts vary also in level of detail, sources of information, forest definition and target groups. Therefore, their use for international comparison for various scientific, policy and reporting purposes is complex. In addition, the existing pan-European mapping approaches are based on coarse spatial resolution data that do not satisfy the requirements for local and inter-regional applications.
The activity of the Forest Mapping group has been focused on developing Pan European Forest maps characterized by the following main features:
  • Consistent over Europe
  • Independent of national boundaries
  • Higher level of spatial detail than previously available (e.g. able to detect  small patches or non-forest openings and corridors)
  • Higher level of geometric (<25m) and thematic accuracy
  • Compatible with INSPIRE standards


The activities of the Forest Mapping group led to the development of high-resolution (25m) pan-European forest cover maps for the years 1990, 2000 and 2006, and of a Forest Type Map for 2006:

The 1990 and 2000 Cover Maps have been for example recently used to assess forest cover change in Europe in the framework of the Remote Sensing Survey of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA2010). (Additional information regarding the global appraoch of the FRA2010 Remote Sensing Survey can be found here)




As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.