Concerns about reported harvests in European forests

Marc Palahí*, Rubén Valbuena, Cornelius Senf, Nezha Acil, Thomas A.M. Pugh, Jonathan Sadler, Rupert Seidl, Peter Potapov, Barry Gardiner, Lauri Hetemäki, Gherardo Chirici, Saverio Francini, Tomáš Hlásny, Bas Jan Willem Lerink, Håkan Olsson, José Ramón González Olabarria, Davide Ascoli, Antti Asikainen, Jürgen Bauhus, Göran BerndesJanis Donis, Jonas Fridman, Marc Hanewinkel, Hervé Jactel, Marcus Lindner, Marco Marchetti, Róbert Marušák, Douglas Sheil, Margarida Tomé, Antoni Trasobares, Pieter Johannes Verkerk, Minna Korhonen, Gert Jan Nabuurs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic

56 Citations (Scopus)


Ceccherini et al.1 reported an abrupt increase in harvested forest—in terms of both biomass and area—in Europe from 2016, and suggested that this reflected expanding wood markets encouraged by the bioeconomy policies of the European Union (EU). They used Global Forest Watch2 and GlobBiomass3 data together with an analysis that sought to remove natural disturbances from forest losses, which overall resulted in estimates of 49% for the increase in harvested forest area and 69% for the increase in harvested forest biomass. We argue that the reported changes reflect analytical artefacts, with inconsistencies in the forest change time series, misattribution of natural disturbances as harvests, and a lack of causality with the suggested bioeconomy policy frameworks. There is an urgent need to re-examine available forest information that can accurately and reliably inform the ongoing policy discussions in the framework of the EU Green Deal, particularly the upcoming post-2020 EU Forest Strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E15-E17
Issue number7856
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2021


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