European forest morphology, mosaic and connectivity CLC 1990-2000-2006

Collection: JRC-FOREST : JRC Forest Research Activities 


The forest morphology is measured with a set of 4 indicators derived from the Morphological Spatial Pattern Application (MSPA) of the GUIDOS software (Soille and Vogt, 2009) with a width of 1 pixel: Core, Edge, Linear, Islet. The forest mosaic is measured with a set of 3 indicators based on the forest spatial pattern and the composition in terms of agriculture, artificial and natural/semi-natural surfaces in the immediate surroundings (3x3 pixels): core natural, mixed natural, some natural. The forest connectivity is measured with the Root Probability of Connectivity (RPC) index that quantifies the landscape functional connectivity based on forest patch area, its spatial configuration, inter-patch distances, matrix permeability and specific dispersal capabilities of generic groups of forest-dwelling species. The assessment applies inter-patch Euclidian distances, assuming a homogeneous non-forested matrix, and 50% of dispersal probability at the 1 km distance for forest-dwelling species. RPC is dimensionless and ranges from 0 to 1. The area and the proportion of the all sets of indicators are reported for the forest cover extracted from Corine Land Cover at 100 m years 1990-2000-2006 (version 15, 08/2011), and aggregated per landscape units of 25 km by 25 km, per provinces (NUTS 2/3) and per country (NUTS 0).


christine.estreguil (at)


How to cite

European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) (2013): European forest morphology, mosaic and connectivity CLC 1990-2000-2006. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


forest fragmentation Corine Land Cover forest pattern landscape indicators

Data access

European forest morphology, mosaic and connectivity CLC 1990-2000-2006
  • Spatial layers of indicators aggregated by country (NUT0), province (NUTS23) and grid 25 x25 km.


Forest Landscape in Europe: Pattern, Fragmentation and Connectivity
Estreguil C, Caudullo G, De Rigo D, San-Miguel-Ayanz J. Forest Landscape in Europe: Pattern, Fragmentation and Connectivity. EUR 25717. Luxembourg (Luxembourg): Publications Office of the European Union; 2012. JRC77295
  • Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Publication page 
  • Abstract

    The JRC demonstrated the feasibility to assess and report in a harmonized manner, forest landscape pattern and fragmentation in Europe, on the basis of an easily reproducible set of indices. Results were used in the Forest EUROPE, UN ECE and FAO joint ministerial reporting process on the protection of forests in Europe where data on forest pattern do not exist from national forest inventories. In the EU, 40% of the forest lands are within a 100m distance from other lands, thus potentially less suitable as interior habitat and more likely to be exposed to invasive species, pests and diseases. Forest edges are also mainly (60%) along intensive land uses. In Europe, 40% of woodlands have in their 1km2 surroundings a mosaic landscape of other natural/semi-natural lands, agriculture and artificial lands, 15% of woodlands are strongly fragmented by mainly intensive land uses. Landscapes with woodlands poorly connected represent 70% of the European territory and are potentially more vulnerable to further fragmentation in the future. National profiles of forest pattern were also provided.

    The mitigation of ecosystem fragmentation is also important in new targets of the European Biodiversity strategy to 2020. By affecting ecological processes, fragmentation affects ecosystem services such as habitat provision, pollination, and has also an impact on pest propagation in different ways. Forest area is still increasing in Europe at an annual rate of 0.4% but the JRC assessment showed that new forest areas do not always enhance connectivity. For example, in the Iberian Peninsula, the net forest gain in the 1990-2006 period had no impact on connectivity for nearly 10% of the landscapes. Further, the forest fragmentation processes that were found need to be captured at landscape level. They consist of minor forest losses due to intensive agriculture, transport infrastructures, settlements and fires. These findings support the consideration of forest spatial pattern in sustainable forest management plans for a regional landscape planning of clearings and re/afforestation measures.

Geographic areas


Spatial coverage

Type Value
POLYGON((-31.5 71.5,45.5 71.5,45.5 27,-31.5 27,-31.5 71.5))

Temporal coverage

From date To date
1990-01-01 2006-12-31

Additional information

Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Created date
Modified date
Issued date
Landing page 
Data theme(s)
Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food, Environment
Update frequency