A new assessment of Europe’s remaining old-growth forests – the pockets of undisturbed ancient woodland where humans have had minimal impact – reveals they are in a “perilous state” and lack proper protections.
Scientists from 28 institutions have gathered data and detailed mapping over five years in order to assess the conservation status of these primary forests in Europe, and found many of them continue to be logged.
The research paper describes primary forests as being “composed of native species, where signs of past human use are minimal, and ecological processes, such as natural disturbances, operate dynamically and with little impairment by anthropogenic influences”.
They are critical for conserving forest biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and natural water course management which can help maintain resilient environments.
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