Forests and other wooded lands cover about a third of the European land area and are therefore a characteristic element of the continent's natural and cultural landscape. Woodland has always provided people with economic, social and environmental products and services. Indeed the history of Western civilisation would be dramatically different without the multiple benefits forests provided to society. However, the current distribution and composition of forests in most parts of Europe reflect the profound cumulative impacts of many centuries of land use change and forest management. While in many cases the loss of biodiversity of cultural landscapes we observe today is closely related to modern exploitation strategies, very often this situation is connected with changes in traditional agricultural systems and the abandonment of traditional land management practices.