Accurate data about Danish forests – University of Copenhagen

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Accurate data about Danish forests

The Ministry of the Environment has a contract with the University of Copenhagen to calculate and report on the condition of the Danish forests, which has provided a far more accurate picture of the forests and their importance for the climate.

A census of Danish forests has been taken since 1881, but since the University took on the task in 2002, the data has been far more accurate. As a result, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building have new and important information that addresses issues such as Denmark’s carbon targets for forests under the Kyoto protocols.

Previously, the census was conducted by sending out questionnaires to forest owners. Now, it based on highly detailed studies by researchers from Forest & Landscape Denmark. Each year, teams are sent out into the field around the country to carry out a detailed study of randomly selected forest areas. They measure things like tree diameter and the soil, species variation and health. It is the largest land-based study of the environment in Denmark, and the methodology yields a great deal of new and valuable information.

“We are now able to measure the actual growth in Danish forests. Previously we only had estimates,” senior researcher Thomas Nord-Larsen explains.

The University releases the forest statistics to the general public and relevant ministries and is responsible for the Danish input into national and international statistics, the EU, FAO, etc. The statistics are also used by research projects on subjects such as biodiversity, biomass and climate change.