Forest vegetation is a key factor in the maintenance of global carbon cycle balance under the present climate change conditions. Forest ecosystems are both buffers against extreme climatic events accompanying climate change and carbon sinks diminishing the environmental impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. We investigated the influence of stand structure and site characteristics on the productivity and carbon storage capacity of temperate forest types. Predictors of species productivity were parameters such as stand density, age, height, average diameter and wood density. Morus alba (L.) was more productive than average both in terms of annual volume increment and annual biomass gain, while Quercus sessiliflora (Matt.) Lieb. and Quercus frainetto (Ten.) were significantly less productive than average. Differences in stand productivity were explained by stand density, age, height, altitude, type of regeneration and species composition. Statistically significant differences were measured between the productivity of stands dominated by different woody species, with low productive stands dominated by slow growing species with high wood density like Quercus or Fagus, and highly productive stands rich in fast growing species with low wood density like Populus or Salix. Stands with different plant communities in the underlying herbaceous layer also tended to have different levels of productivity.