Forests cover about 40 % of the European Union (EU), providing a wide spectrum of invaluable ecosystem services to more than half a billion people. In order to protect and harness this crucial asset, EU policies are advancing multifunctional management. This study lays a basis for such an effort by mapping the supply of key forest ecosystem services (FES) across the entire EU: wood, water supply, erosion control, pollination, habitat protection, soil formation, climate regulation and recreation. To further support the operationalization of multifunctionality and targeting of policies, our analysis delineates hotspots, assesses synergies and tradeoffs, and identifies spatial bundles. We generated maps at 1-km resolution starting from existing datasets through simple modelling (Tier 1). Out of these maps, we denoted the highest supplying pixels (i.e. top 20 %) as hotspots, and performed correlation analysis to detect synergies and tradeoffs. Finally, we used cluster analysis to identify FES bundles. Our analysis shows that hotspots of single FES are spread across the entire EU and that forests of mountain regions and Central Europe (particularly France, Germany, Slovakia) supply significant amounts of multiple FES. The cluster analysis resulted in four bundles: “balanced” in the northeast, “wood & water” in the center, “soil carbon” in the north and “rural-recreational” in the south. While a purely quantitative analysis of the produced maps may be misleading because of the strong links between FES supply and climatic and socio-economic conditions, overlaying hotspots and bundles with administrative layers can be a first step to inform about the role of different countries and regions in securing the sustainable supply of European FES.
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Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.
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