Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Reply to Wernick, I. K. et al.; Palahí, M. et al.

The Original Article was published on 28 April 2021

The Original Article was published on 28 April 2021

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Large and small forest-loss patches, and t-test on cloud-free observations, for the periods 2013–2015 and 2016–2018.
Fig. 2: Comparison between pixel-based and sample-based estimates of forest change in Sweden and Finland.
Fig. 3: Forest loss from ‘extreme events’ stated in our study and in the FORWIND database.

Data availability

To ensure full reproducibility and transparency of our research, all of the data and the scripts used in our analysis have been made available or can be obtained from the corresponding author upon request. Codes used for this study (Google Earth Engine and R scripts, and data synthesis on the validation for GFC stable forests and loss) are available on GitHub at


  1. Wernick, I. K. et al. Quantifying forest change in the European Union. Nature (2021).

  2. Palahí, M. et al. Reported harvested area and biomass loss in European forests. Nature (2021).

  3. Ceccherini, G. et al. Abrupt increase in harvested forest area over Europe after 2015. Nature 583, 72–77 (2020).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hansen, M. C. et al. High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. Science 342, 850–853 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Potapov, P. V. et al. Eastern Europe’s forest cover dynamics from 1985 to 2012 quantified from the full Landsat archive. Remote Sens. Environ. 159, 28–43 (2015).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Hansen, M. C. et al. High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. Science 342, 850–853 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Goldman, L. & Weisse, M. Technical blog: Global Forest Watch’s 2018 data update explained. Global Forest Watch (2019).

  8. Curtis, P. G., Slay, C. M., Harris, N. L., Tyukavina, A. & Hansen, M. C. Classifying drivers of global forest loss. Science 361, 1108–1111 (2018).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Harris, N. L. et al. Global maps of twenty-first century forest carbon fluxes. Nat. Clim. Change 11, 234–240 (2021).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Tree Cover Loss by Dominant Driver (Global Forest Watch, accessed August 2020);

  11. Rossi, F., Breidenbach, J., Puliti, S., Astrup, R. & Talbot, B. Assessing harvested sites in a forested boreal mountain catchment through Global Forest Watch. Remote Sens. 11, 543 (2019).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Alkama, R. & Cescatti, A. Biophysical climate impacts of recent changes in global forest cover. Science 351, 600–604 (2016).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Hansen, M. C. et al. The fate of tropical forest fragments. Sci. Adv. 6, eaax8574 (2020).

  14. NYDF Assessment Partners. Goal 1 assessment: Striving to end natural forest loss. New York Declaration on Forests Progress Assessment. Climate Focus (coordinator and editor) (2020).

  15. Olofsson, P. et al. Good practices for estimating area and assessing accuracy of land change. Remote Sens. Environ. 148, 42–57 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Tyukavina, A. et al. Aboveground carbon loss in natural and managed tropical forests from 2000 to 2012. Environ. Res. Lett. 10, 074002 (2015); correction 13, 109501 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Tyukavina, A. et al. Types and rates of forest disturbance in Brazilian Legal Amazon, 2000–2013. Sci. Adv. 3, e1601047 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  18. Olofsson, P. et al. Mitigating the effects of omission errors on area and area change estimates. Remote Sens. Environ. 236, 111492 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  19. Rozendaal, D. M. A., Santoro, M. & Schepaschenko, D. DUE GlobBiomass D24 Validation Report (FSU Jena, 2017).

  20. Forzieri, G. et al. A spatially explicit database of wind disturbances in European forests over the period 2000–2018. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 12, 257–276 (2020).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Camia, A. et al. The use of woody biomass for energy production in the EU and impacts on forests. JRC Science for Policy Report EUR 30548 EN (Publications Office of the European Union, 2020).

  22. Seidl, R., Schelhaas, M.-J., Rammer, W. & Verkerk, P. J. Increasing forest disturbances in Europe and their impact on carbon storage. Nat. Clim. Change 4, 806–810 (2014).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Senf, C. & Seidl, R. Mapping the forest disturbance regimes of Europe. Nat. Sustain. 4, 63–70 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. European Commission. A sustainable bioeconomy for Europe: strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment. COM(2018) 673 (2018).

  25. FAOSTAT. Forestry Production and Trade (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, accessed July 2020);

  26. Swedish Forest Agency. Forest harvesting development in Sweden. (2020).

  27. Camia, A., Robert, N. & Pilli, R. Biomass production, supply, uses and flows in the European Union: first results from an integrated assessment. JRC Science for Policy Report EUR 28993 EN (Publications Office of the European Union, 2018).

  28. Nabuurs, G.-J. et al. First signs of carbon sink saturation in European forest biomass. Nat. Clim. Change 3, 792–796 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Fernandez, R. et al. Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2016 and inventory report 2018. EEA Report No 5/2018 (European Environment Agency, 2018).

  30. Korosuo, A. et al. Forest reference levels under Regulation (EU) 2018/841 for the period 2021–2025: overview and main findings of the technical assessment. JRC Science for Policy Report EUR 30403 EN (Publications Office of the European Union, 2020).

  31. European Commission. Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition. Investing in a climate-neutral future for the benefit of our people. COM/2020/562 (2020).

  32. Santoro, M. GlobBiomass - global datasets of forest biomass. PANGAEA (2018).

  33. Forest Europe. State of Europe’s Forests 2015. (Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, 2015).

  34. Gorelick, N. et al. Google Earth Engine: Planetary-scale geospatial analysis for everyone. Remote Sens. Environ. 202, 18–27 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank F. Achard, H. Eva, F. Gianoli, M. Pickering, M. Piccardo, R. Abad Vinas, B. Eckhart, S. Rossi and B. Marcolla for the validation exercise; and A. Korosuo for clarifications of specific country circumstances and for useful editorial suggestions. The salvage loggings dataset was collected in 15 EU Member States by searching national datasets and/or consulting with national experts. Through the Standing Forestry Committee under the European Commission, the following Member States validated and/or acknowledged data on salvage logging and/or provided additional information: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. It is important to note that the time series for which annual data on salvage loggings are available varies among Member States.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



G.C., V.A. and A.C. designed the validation methodology. G.C. and G.D. analysed the data and wrote the Google Earth Engine and R scripts. G.C., V.A., G.G. and A.C. wrote the manuscript with contributions from G.D., G.L. and R.P. All authors contributed critically to the interpretation of the results and gave final approval for publication.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guido Ceccherini.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ceccherini, G., Duveiller, G., Grassi, G. et al. Reply to Wernick, I. K. et al.; Palahí, M. et al.. Nature 592, E18–E23 (2021).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing