National Forest Land (NFL) accounts for roughly 12.7% of country territory (see Table 1). The majority of forestland (87.2%) is under state property, with the rest owned by municipalities (12.2%) and only 0.6% by private owners. Despite a relatively insignificant share, privately owned forest resources are growing continuously - these have basically tripled in size and share.
Table 1 Structure of the forests according to the General Land Cadaster
Forest vegetation outside the NFL includes protection belts located on agricultural land and in river and water basin protection areas; also, protection belts and tree and shrub plantations along passageways; groups of trees and solitary trees in cities and towns. The Republic of Moldova has 49.1 thousand ha of forest vegetation outside the NFL, expressed as 29.8 thousand ha of protection belts (for agricultural fields, roads, rivers and water basins, etc.) and 19.2 thousand ha of other types of forest vegetation, which can also substantially contribute to preserving the ecological balance.
This land covered with forest vegetation is largely not developed and managed based on well-justified and evidenced plans and designs. It is managed with violations of forestry technologies and in non-compliance with ecological and forestry requirements.
The composition of Moldova's forests is dominated by the following species: deciduous (97.8%), including oaks - 143.8 thousand ha (39.6%), ashes - 16.6 thousand ha (4.6%), hornbeams - 9.4 thousand ha (2.6%), acacias - 131.0 thousand ha (36.1%), poplars - 5.7 thousand ha (1.6%), etc., with only 2.2% covered with coniferous species.
Oaks are the most valuable forest trees. Out of their total area, 27% grew from seeds and 73% from shoots (coppice). The large share of oaks from shoots is a consequence of the coppice management throughout several centuries. Such situation influences also the productivity of oak stands, of which 43% are of high-yield stands and 57% are low-yield forests.
The total volume of standing wood in Moldova's forests is roughly 45 million m3, with an average of 124 m3 per ha. Average forest increment accounts for 3.3 m3/year/hectare, and the total average increment is about 1085 thousand m3/year. The average yield class is 2.3. The age structure of all forest species is unbalanced, for lower yield species in particular.
The main manager of forests under public property is Agency Moldsilva, which owns 82.1% or 336.6 thousand ha of the total NFL. The remaining land covered with forests and forest vegetation is owned by I- and II-tier LPAs, Ministry of Transport and Road Infrastructure, Agency Moldova Waters. This land is primarily represented by forest belts for agricultural field protection, road protection belts, and forest belts for water protection, as well as forests in rural areas administered by municipalities and district councils.