Many publications have estimates on the area of the forests before the foundation of the republic. But these figures are quite different from each other. All of these figures are not based on scientific findings and hence are not much regarded. The first regular and scientific inventory was done between 1963-1972. Management plans for all forests were completed in this period. According to the plans the total forest area amounted to 20.199.296 ha, of which 11.342.889 ha unproductive. The total forest area was divided almost by half to high forests and coppices.

Since 1972, each year plans for almost one tenth of the forest area have been renewed. But, because of the frequent changes in borders and planning units, the Management Planning Department was not been able to compare the results of inventories at yearly basis until 1997. At that time, the need for the updated figures was underlined (mainly for FRA reporting) and since then updated figures for forest area have been released yearly (except for years 2000-2001). The figures indicate that there has been an increase of 857.147 ha forest area for the last 30 years.

FOREST AREA 1963-72 1998 1999 2002
High Forest 10.934.607 14.283.312 14.347.965 14.418.340 15.175.389
Coppices 9.264.689 6.429.584 6.385.808 6.344.908 5.881.054
Total 20.199.296 20.712.896 20.733.772 20.763.248 21.056.443

Source: MEF Statistics Division, GDF Management Planning Department

Figure for 2002 does not include the private forests, which is around 15.000 ha, and it does not include trees outside forests (in cities, parks, farms, along roads etc.). Besides, 8.795.166 ha bare land is classified as forest soil.

Forests are generally located on mountainous areas and they are usually natural and semi-natural with high biodiversity value . The country has 9000 plant species of which 3000 is endemic. Most of these plants are located in forest areas. Deciduous forests are prevalent and relatively uninterrupted at moderate elevations along northern Turkey. Coniferous forests, depending on the species and locations, are found at varying altitudes from sea level to the timber line. Forest formations of the country include species belonging to different floristic regions, namely Irano-Turanion, Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian. Approximately 800 woody taxa occur in the country's forests. The predominant species are Pinus brutia, Pinus nigra, Pinus silvestris, Abies spp. ( A. cilicica, A. nordmannia, A. equi-trojani are unique ), Picea orientalis, Cedrus libani, Juniperus spp., Pinus, pinea, Cupressus sempervirens, Pinus halepensis, Fagus orientalis, Quercus spp., Alnus spp., Castanea sativa, Carpinus betulus. The forests in Turkey are also home to most of 120 mammals, 454 birds and 93 reptiles found in the Country.