Forest ecosystems provide numerous benefits for society: besides providing timber for construction or fuel, forests play a crucial role in cleaning the air and water and preventing floods. They also offer a home for wildlife as well as a place for recreation and relaxation. Forests are natural providers of services and the reason a total of 3.6 million people across different fields had work in 2021. While total employment in the EU increased by 5.9% between 2011 and 2021, employment in the forestry sector decreased marginally in the same period (-0.4%).
With more than 159 million hectares of forest, the EU had 3.2 million people working in activities related to forestry and wood-based industry in 2021 (classified by NACE Rev. 2), and another 437 thousand self-employed people in that sector.
The activity that employed the most people was the manufacture of furniture, which recorded a total of 1.1 million employed people and 174 thousand self-employed people.
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