According to a study carried out by the European Commission, in five European countries forests cover more than 50% of total land area – Sweden (76%), Finland (72%), Estonia (61%), Slovenia (60%) and Latvia (56%). Lithuania is 11th with forests and other wooded areas covering 39% of total land area. Ireland and the Netherlands (13% each), as well as Malta (5%), are at the bottom of the list. Forests cover 159 million hectares in the EU, 38% of the bloc's territory.
In 2012, forests and other wooded land occupied around 40% of the total area of the EU, cropland a quarter and grassland a further fifth, while artificial areas1, such as buildings, road and rail networks accounted for 5%.
These data are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union and are based on a large scale land survey, the Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS), conducted most recently in 2012. LUCAS is the largest harmonised land survey ever implemented in the EU, with data collected in 27 EU Member States by 750 field surveyors at 270 000 points. At each of these points, the field surveyors recorded the land cover and land use and took photographs. These photographs can be found in the LUCAS Photo viewer in the Statistical Atlas on the Eurostat website. By clicking on one of the points, access will be given to the photos collected at each point as well as to additional information, such as the size of the plot and the type of land cover