Free European data on forest distribution: overview and evaluation

https://doi.org/10.17221/58/2013-JFSCitation:Trombik J., Hlásny T. (2013): Free European data on forest distribution: overview and evaluation. J. For. Sci., 59: 447-457.
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A growing need for the evaluation of prospects and sustainability of forest resources calls for the availability of harmonized data on forest distribution. We described and evaluated nine datasets providing such information: Corine LandCover, four European forest maps and four tree species distribution maps. Apart from providing a condensed overview of these datasets, we focused on the match between selected forest maps and forest management plans (FMPs) of Slovakia, which can be thought of as highly accurate information on forest distribution. The degree of match between forest and species area, within 306 forest administrative districts of Slovakia, was used as an indicator of accuracy. In addition, the match between the total forest and species area in Slovakia, given by FMPs and by evaluated datasets, was addressed. We found a high degree of match for the datasets on forest distribution (R-square 0.77–0.93, depending on the dataset), as well as strong agreement in total forest area (± 5%). Both indicators are worse in the case of forest type evaluation (coniferous and broadleaved). Poor results were obtained for tree species maps, which under- or overestimated species areas by tens of per cent, although differences were highly variable among species. The obtained results are valid mainly for temperate forests.
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