Forests as a rule are the least impaired natural environments within our cultural landscape. They are the homes of a considerable share of the native flora and fauna.
Approximately 17 % of German forests are therefore protected areas under European Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) and therefore part of the Natura 2000 European protected site network. These habitat areas serve to protect specific animal and plant species and their habitats.
Article 11 of the Habitats Directive stipulates that Member States must regularly undertake surveillance of the conservation status of the habitat types. For this purpose, the National Forest Inventory in 2012 was the first to uniformly survey and assess parameters on the specific structures and functions of forest habitat types nationwide.
The National Forest Inventory lists 19 forest habitat types for Germany. The three large-area forest habitat types occurring in Germany – Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests (9110), Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests (9130) and Galio-Carpinetum oak-hornbeam forests (9170) – are surveyed representatively by the National Forest Inventory. They make up approximately 83% of the total area of all forest habitat types in Germany.
The other 16 forest habitat types make up the remaining 17 % of the area. A representative survey of these forest habitat types is not possible in the scope of the National Forest Inventory due to the low sample sizes. The Länder have therefore surveyed the conservation status of these forest habitat types using other methods.
The results are summarized in the national 2013 Habitat Report of the Federal Republic of Germany.