Destructive Storms in European Forests:

 Past and Forthcoming Impacts

Storm Damages and Tree Stability References
European Storms Catalogue

pdf_icon.gif : 1Kb Final report,
pdf_icon.gif : 1Kb Appendix 1 : European storm catalogue  list  on july 2010,
pdf_icon.gif : 1Kb Appendix 2 : Report from workshop on 'Policies for forest storm damages mitigation and restauration',
pdf_icon.gif : 1Kb Appendix 3 : Background information on 11 storms selected for detailed analysis
pdf_icon.gif : 1Kb Appendix 4 : Measures for the management of catastrophic storm damages to forests; summaries for major storms in Europe
pdf_icon.gif : 1Kb Appendix 5 : Forest laws in European member states

The final report for the EFI-led project on the past and future impact of storms to European forests was submitted to the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment on 23 rd July 2010. The report consisted of a review of existing knowledge and European experience by experts in 8 countries over 9 months and included a 1-day workshop in Brussels with 37 participants including researchers, policy makers and forest practitioners.

The report has catalogued all the storms causing noteable damage to forests in the current European Union since 1950. More than 130 storms were identified and from these, 11 storms were selected for more detailed analysis.

The work shows that storms are responsible for more than 50% of all damage to European forests and on average there are 2 destructive storms in Europe each year. The average annual damaged volume is highly correlated to the volume of growing stock. Tree height, soil condition and thinning are key factors influencing damage levels but the influence of other factors such as tree species and silvicultural system are less easy to determine in an unequivocal manner.

Evidence suggests that damage levels will continue to increase with at least a doubling of damage by the end of the century if current forest management practices remain. In addition storms are predicted to affect wider areas and penetrate further east across Europe.

There is a large body of knowledge within Europe on predicting storm damage risk, managing forests to reduce risk and dealing with the aftermath of storm damage. However, this knowledge is scattered, often available only in one language, and often is forgotten or unused because of the long average period between storms in individual countries. Therefore, it is suggested that European Commission may have a role in improving this situation by:

  • Supporting member countries in understanding storm risk and planning for storms

  • Enhancing post-storm coordination between countries

  • Providing appropriate, easily available, and up-to-date information

  • Facilitating post-storm procedures

  • Harmonizing the integrated monitoring of damage across Europe

  • Considering storm risk in all relevant European regulation

Storm damages and tree stability references
European storms catalogue

This report can be also consulted on EU website with other forest protection related studies.