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FPS COST Action E27
PROFOR-Protected Forest Areas

COST Action E27 aimed to provide a better understanding of divergences in protected forest areas at the national and international level and to explain the reasons for this diversity. The main task of the Action was to analyse and harmonise the whole range of Protected Forest Area (PFA) categories in Europe in compliance with existing international categories for protected areas. Major emphasis was placed on cooperation between scientists and managers from both nature conservation and forest administration. Besides the 25 European signatory countries, the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) had an observer status. COST Action E27 also co-operated closely with The World Conservation Union (IUCN), Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) and UN-ECE.

Country reports served as basis for the analysis of the various types of protected forest areas across Europe. Information was provided in a consistent manner regarding content and structure to allow comparisons between countries. Those analyses have revealed that between member countries there still exists a great variation in typology, restrictions on use and motivation for designation of the different types of protected forest areas. Efforts were made to identify characteristics, similarities and differences between categories of protected forest areas and countries with respect to restrictions and motivation for designation.

Both classification systems as defined by IUCN and MCPFE were evaluated by country experts of COST Action E27 by means of statistical analysis and surveys based on questionnaires, country reports and plenary discussions. Results showed considerable variation, and even on strictly defined protection categories full harmonisation has not yet been achieved. Therefore, to date, no harmonised and comparable dataset on PFA is available in Europe.

Based on the results of the evaluation and on subsequent discussions within COST Action E27, a number of recommendations to improve the quality and comparability of the statistics have been compiled. COST Action E27 has produced an extensive document pointing out sources of uncertainty in the existent reporting systems, and formulating concrete suggestions or clarifications that should help reduce the divergence in interpretation, thus leading to more harmonised and comparable datasets. On the basis of the recommendations of COST Action E27, the Liaison Unit of MCPFE has supplemented its Assessment Guidelines by an Information Note to be used by country correspondents in collecting information for the fifth MCPFE Conference taking place in autumn 2007 in Warsaw.

Information on the COST Action E27 clearing house mechanism can be found on the Internet at Reports and other documents are available on .

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Dr Georg FRANK (AT)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:



Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF


* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page