First map of Europe’s last wild forests by the Geography Department of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Researchers from the Geography Department of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin led the creation of the first map of Europe’s last wild forests, including more than 1.4 million hectares in 34 European countries.. The study, recently published in the journal Diversity & Distributions, highlights that primary forests in Europe are generally very rare, located in remote areas, and fragmented into small patches.


Primary forests have high conservation value but are rare in Europe due to historic land use. Yet many primary forest patches remain unmapped, and it is unclear to what extent they are effectively protected. Our aim was to (1) compile the most comprehensive European‐scale map of currently known primary forests, (2) analyse the spatial determinants characterizing their location and (3) locate areas where so far unmapped primary forests likely occur.

Main conclusions

Despite their outstanding conservation value, primary forests are rare and their current distribution is the result of centuries of land use and forest management. The conservation outlook for primary forests is uncertain as many are not strictly protected and most are small and fragmented, making them prone to extinction debt and human disturbance. Predicting where unmapped primary forests likely occur could guide conservation efforts, especially in Eastern Europe where large areas of primary forest still exist but are being lost at an alarming pace.


Download the press release below, for further information:

Link to the study:

Link to the project:

Link to Research blog:

Document type
  • Research paper


Publication Year


Francesco Maria Sabatini Sabina Burrascano William S. Keeton Christian Levers Marcus Lindner Florian Pötzschner Pieter Johannes Verkerk Jürgen Bauhus Erik Buchwald Oleh Chaskovsky Nicolas Debaive Ferenc Horváth Matteo Garbarino Nikolaos Grigoriadis Fabio Lombardi Inês Marques Duarte Peter Meyer Rein Midteng Stjepan Mikac Martin Mikoláš Renzo Motta Gintautas Mozgeris Leónia Nunes Momchil Panayotov Peter Ódor Alejandro Ruete Bojan Simovski Jonas Stillhard Miroslav Svoboda Jerzy Szwagrzyk Olli‐Pekka Tikkanen Roman Volosyanchuk Tomas Vrska Tzvetan Zlatanov Tobias Kuemmerle
Geographical focus
  • Europe
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Natural Sciences

Entry created by Admin on June 18, 2018
Modified on June 18, 2018