Indicator landscape

Extensively managed forest area

Extensive use means that there is little human intervention in the natural habitat. This can lead to the development of a rich and specialized species diversity. Extensively used forest sites are freely accessible and provide room for leisure pursuits.

Assessment of the state
medium medium
Assessment of the trend
positive positive
Extensively managed forest area 2004/06: 214616 Extensively managed forest area 1993/95: 184433 Extensively managed forest area 1983/85: 156268

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Federal Office for the Environment: Swiss Landscape Monitoring Network

Between 1983/85 and 2004/06, extensively used forests in Switzerland increased in area by 58,348 hectares. Just under 16% of the total forest area in Switzerland is under extensive management. Greater differences can be observed regionally. The increase is clearest in the Northern Alps, while a decrease can be observed in the Southern Alps. Extensively used forests are forests that will not be managed in the next stage. The trend is neutral to positive for biodiversity, landscape and recreation.

The extensively used forest area in Switzerland totalled 214,616 hectares in 2004/06.

The increase is primarily due to lower timber prices in the survey period. For that reason, it was often not possible to use forest areas for economic purposes.

International comparison

Efforts are being made in the EU to introduce a “high nature value (HNV) forest indicator” (see EEA Technical Report No. 13/2014).


In order to determine the area of extensively used forest, a derived attribute contained in the Swiss National Forest Inventory was used. Sampling sites were grouped on the basis of the time elapsed since the last logging operation, and the site index (total productivity in kilograms per year and hectare of forest area): (a)  sites with a site index between 1,500 and 3,000 and whose last logging operation was 31 to 50 years ago; (b) sites with a site index between 3,000 and 4,000 and whose last logging operation was 21 to 50 years ago; and (c) sites with a site index greater than 4,500 and whose last logging operation was 11 to 30 years ago. Forest sites which are managed more frequently are considered intensively used; those where the last intervention dates back more than 50 years are considered unmanaged.

Last updated on: 09.11.2017

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