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Timber harvest in Europe lower than claimed

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New study outlines the erroneous data analysis in a previous publication


Has timber harvesting in Europe increased in recent years? Yes, say researchers from various countries, but nowhere near as much as a study on “Abrupt increase in harvested forest area in Europe after 2015” published in Nature in the summer of 2020 claims. In a new study, a European team including Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhus, Chair of Silviculture and Prof. Dr. Marc Hanewinkel, Chair of Forest Economics and Forest Planning at the University of Freiburg, Germany, shows that the timber harvest has increased by only 6 percent in recent years, not 69 percent as previously postulated. The erroneous analysis was due to an increase in the sensitivity of the underlying satellite data. In addition, the earlier publication had mistakenly classified some forest areas affected by natural disturbances as timber harvest, explain the authors of the current study, which has now also appeared in Nature.


Read press releases:

-  (Universtät Freiburg)

-  (EFI Resilience Blog)


Original publication in Nature:

Palahí M., Valbuena R., Senf C., Acil N., Pugh T. A. M., Sadler J., Seidl R., Potapov P., Gardiner B., Hetemäki L., Chirici G., Francini S., Hlásny T., Lerink B. J. W., Olsson .H, González Olabarria J. R., Ascoli D., Asikainen A., Bauhus J., Berndes G, Donis J., Fridman J., Hanewinkel M., Jactel H., Lindner M., Marchetti M., Marušák R., Sheil D., Tomé M., Trasobares A., Verkerk P. J., Korhonen M., Nabuurs G.-J. (2021): Concerns about reported harvests in European forests. Nature 592, E15–E17.




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