Indicator forest and wood

Tree species composition

The forest is extremely important for biological diversity in Switzerland: Nearly half of native plant and animal species depend on it. The Swiss landscape would be naturally dominated by beech and spruce forests, which are relatively species-poor. Forests that are rich in different tree species arise either naturally over long periods of time (climax) or through short-term human interventions.

Assessment of the state
good good
Assessment of the trend
positive positive
Other conifers 2009/13 (NFI4): 1 Other deciduous trees 2009/13 (NFI4): 6.8 Ash 2009/13 (NFI4): 4.1 Maple 2009/13 (NFI4): 3.1 Beech 2009/13 (NFI4): 18.1 Larch 2009/13 (NFI4): 5.6 Scots pine 2009/13 (NFI4): 2.7 Spanish fir 2009/13 (NFI4): 14.9 Spruce 2009/13 (NFI4): 43.7 Other conifers 2004/06 (NFI3): 1 Other deciduous trees 2004/06 (NFI3): 6.7 Ash 2004/06 (NFI3): 3.7 Maple 2004/06 (NFI3): 2.9 Beech 2004/06 (NFI3): 18.1 Larch 2004/06 (NFI3): 5.5 Scots pine 2004/06 (NFI3): 3.1 Spanish fir 2004/06 (NFI3): 14.8 Spruce 2004/06 (NFI3): 44.1 Other conifers 1993/95 (NFI2): 0.9 Other deciduous trees 1993/95 (NFI2): 6.2 Ash 1993/95 (NFI2): 3 Maple 1993/95 (NFI2): 2.4 Beech 1993/95 (NFI2): 17.8 Larch 1993/95 (NFI2): 4.9 Scots pine 1993/95 (NFI2): 3.4 Spanish fir 1993/95 (NFI2): 14.3 Spruce 1993/95 (NFI2): 47.2 Other conifers 1983/85 (NFI1): 0.7 Other deciduous trees 1983/85 (NFI1): 5.7 Ash 1983/85 (NFI1): 2.5 Maple 1983/85 (NFI1): 2.1 Beech 1983/85 (NFI1): 16.7 Larch 1983/85 (NFI1): 4.8 Scots pine 1983/85 (NFI1): 3.7 Spanish fir 1983/85 (NFI1): 15 Spruce 1983/85 (NFI1): 48.9
Proportion of tree species, as a % of the standing volume. Evaluation unit: accessible forest without brushwood. Survey period: based on the NFI period with variation in the terrestrial network.

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research: Swiss National Forestry Inventory (NFI)
Tilia platyphyllos Scop. (largeleaf linden) 2009/13 (NFI4): 1300 Tilia cordata Mill. (littleleaf linden) 2009/13 (NFI4): 3517 Taxus baccata L. (yew) 2009/13 (NFI4): 1261 Sorbus torminalis (L.) (common service tree) 2009/13 (NFI4): 89 Prunus avium L. (sweet cherry tree) 2009/13 (NFI4): 2324 Juglans regia L. (common walnut tree) 2009/13 (NFI4): 265 Acer platanoides L. (Norway maple) 2009/13 (NFI4): 1486 Tilia platyphyllos Scop. (largeleaf linden) 2004/06 (NFI3): 1372 Tilia cordata Mill. (littleleaf linden) 2004/06 (NFI3): 3371 Taxus baccata L. (yew) 2004/06 (NFI3): 1179 Sorbus torminalis (L.) (common service tree) 2004/06 (NFI3): 54 Prunus avium L. (sweet cherry tree) 2004/06 (NFI3): 2433 Juglans regia L. (common walnut tree) 2004/06 (NFI3): 307 Acer platanoides L. (Norway maple) 2004/06 (NFI3): 1157 Tilia platyphyllos Scop. (largeleaf linden) 1993/95 (NFI2): 1359 Tilia cordata Mill. (littleleaf linden) 1993/95 (NFI2): 2693 Taxus baccata L. (yew) 1993/95 (NFI2): 971 Sorbus torminalis (L.) (common service tree) 1993/95 (NFI2): 54 Prunus avium L. (sweet cherry tree) 1993/95 (NFI2): 2391 Juglans regia L. (common walnut tree) 1993/95 (NFI2): 260 Acer platanoides L. (Norway maple) 1993/95 (NFI2): 965
Number of rare tree species based on the list from the ETH project on promoting rare tree species in the Northern Alps (SEBA). According to the SEBA list, data are lacking on Sorbus domestica (service tree), Ulmus laevis (European white elm) and Pyrus pyraster (European wild pear tree). Due to the rareness of these tree species, the data should be interpreted with caution and take into account the standard error (see original NFI data). Evaluation unit: accessible forest without bushwood according the NFI survey period with variation in the terrestrial network.

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research: Swiss National Forestry Inventory (NFI)

Mixed stands dominate many of today’s forests that are influenced by human intervention. Because species diversity declines naturally with increasing altitude, the forests in the Central Plateau, independent of human activities, are richer in different tree species than forests in the mountains. The diversity of tree species has increased since the mid-1980s.

Most commercial forests consist mainly of commercially viable tree species, such as spruce, fir, beech and ash. The promotion of less commercially competitive and viable tree species increases biological diversity and the stability of forests in many cases. However, forest reserves do not provide an automatic guarantee of diversity and stability.



International comparison

The indicator is used in the context of the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe (Forest Europe) and is therefore comparable throughout Europe.


The tree species composition is surveyed using samples taken in the forest, modelled and calculated for the entire forest area and the producing regions.

Last updated on: 26.11.2018

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