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Forest inventory of Ukraine completed

Conducting the terrestrial national forest inventory in Ukraine has become very difficult due to the war – the occupied territories are inaccessible and state funding has had to be greatly reduced. For this reason, a remote sensing (RS) inventory has also been carried out since 2023, which effectively complements the terrestrial inventory in an economically viable and technically up-to-date manner.

This RS inventory for Ukraine was completed in the first quarter of 2024. The first data evaluations show that Ukraine has a total forest area of 11.2 million ha. This corresponds to 18.6% of the area of Ukraine. Of this area, around 1.7 million ha are temporarily occupied or were affected during the war.

The stock of timber in the forest amounts to 2.8 billion m³. The average stock is 251 m³/ha and is therefore significantly higher than determined in previous studies (for comparison: according to the third Federal Forest Inventory, Germany has 336 m³/ha). Two thirds of the forest area is dominated by deciduous tree species.

The volume of carbon fixed in Ukrainian forests (including roots, branches, leaves and trunks) was estimated at around 944 million tons or 3.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalents. This is about ten times the amount of Ukraine's annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, Ukrainian forests are an important resource for forestry and the wood processing industry. This is particularly relevant in terms of employment in rural areas and wood processing, but of course also for tax revenues and therefore the state budget. This sector can provide an impetus for reconstruction with a significantly more positive carbon footprint compared to conventional building materials such as concrete and steel.

Detailed results of the RS inventory, e.g. by tree species groups, oblasts or eco-zones and the methodology used, are available here. The next step planned is a historical analysis of the change in forest cover and stock over the past ten years and the modeling of the potential timber supply based on the results of the RS inventory.

Project information:

The project "Technical support for forest policy development and implementation of the National Forest Inventory (SFI)" is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and has been implemented by the consortium unique land use GmbH (lead partner) and IAK Agrar Consulting GmbH since 2021. The Ukrainian partner is the Center for National Forest Inventory of the State Forest Resources Agency, which has continued the cooperation even under the extremely difficult conditions of the war.