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With 325,000 hectares, the wooded areas in the Pays-de-la-Loire region cover 11% of the region’s surface area. This low surface area (compared to the average of French regions: 28.6%) is combined with a high level of property parcelling. Only state-owned forests and a few private forests in the Eastern part of the region make up large wooded areas.
Public forests in the Pays-de-la-Loire region cover 42,200 hectares. 10% of wooded surface area is managed by the French National Forests Office (ONF). Mainly state-owned, it includes prestigious forests like the Bercé. City, department, and regional forests account for minimal surface area.
87% of forests in the Sarthe are private. Property size varies greatly, with an average of 3 hectares per owner. Consequently, few of them live off of their forests. The ONF manages large state-owned forests, such as Bercé, Perseigne, and Sillé-le-Guillaume.
In the Sarthe, broadleaf trees make up the majority, primarily oak (57% of the total surface area). Poplars, chestnut and other broadleaf trees are also well represented. However, the southern part of the department has several resinous trees like maritime pine, laricio pine and douglas fir.
The Sarthe is the most wooded department in the Pays de la Loire region: Between the Beauce plain, the Bocage Normand, and Armorican Massif, the Sarthe has kept a tradition of hedgerows that has been challenged by several waves of property regrouping and development. It counts over 108,000 hectares of wooded surface area, making it the most wooded department in the Pays de la Loire.