Over one in five forest trees in Flanders damaged

Over a fifth, or 22,6 per cent, of the forest trees in Flanders were damaged last year. That’s an improvement on 2022, when it was still a quarter (or 26,6 per cent), but down on 2021 (19,9 per cent). The figures show that good nature and forest policies are absolutely necessary.

Every year, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) surveys the health of the Flemish forests as part of an international programme of forest vitality monitoring. The percentage of damaged (forest) trees is, after all, a good indicator of the forest quality. This year’s survey, in collaboration with Statistics Flanders, shows that while the quality of forest trees has improved compared to 2022, there has been a deterioration since 2021.

Last year, almost 23 per cent of the forest trees in Flanders were damaged. That is better than the year before (26,6 per cent), but worse than in 2021 (19,9 per cent). According to the survey, the most damaged tree species were Corsican pine and pedunculate oak (also known as the common oak or the English oak). American oak and beech are also in that list. 

To conduct the survey, a total of 1473 trees were checked: 860 deciduous trees and 613 conifers. An important criterion for determining the health of forest trees was leaf density. Trees with more than 25 per cent leaf or needle loss are considered damaged. This is influenced by atmospheric depositions, climate change, forest management and natural factors such as insects and fungi, among others. 

In a reaction, Flemish environment minister Zuhal Demir has said that the figures show that good nature and forest policies are absolutely necessary and that Flanders must continue to invest in more and bigger forests to avoid deterioration in the future.


#FlandersNewsService | Renaat Landuyt, a former minister in the Flemish government, in Groenendaal's forestry center © BELGA PHOTO OLIVIER MATTHYS

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels