Forests are crucial havens for much of Europe’s biodiversity. Forest ecosystems include both natural and man-aged forests and provide habitats for plant and animal species.
Most forests in Europe have a long history of human use and have been altered in one way or another. Still, forests are one of the ecosystems with the highest biodiversity. Old-growth and natural forests are particularly valuable for biodiversity and carbon storage. Some intensively managed forests (e.g. coppice forests) can also have high conservation value.
Clean fresh water has become a key asset of the 21st century, as continued rise in demand and global change induced drought are leading to chronic shortages in many countries. Forests play an essential role in the stable provision of clean, fresh water and related ecosystem services, such as drinking water, protection from floods, erosion and landslides, and climate regulation.