The increased harvest could affect the ability to combat the climate crisis due to the reduction of the carbon absorption capacity of forests.
The data suggests that Europe has lost a vastly increased forest area to harvest in recent years, reducing the continent's carbon-absorbing capacity and possibly indicating broader problems with the EU's attempts to combat the climate crisis.
Many of the EU's forests, which make up about 38% of its land area, are managed for wood production and are therefore regularly cut down. But the loss of biomass increased by 69% in the period from 2016 to 2018, compared to the period from 2011 to 2015, according to satellite data. The area of harvested forest increased by 49% in the same comparison, published in the journal Nature Research.
This indicates that much more harvest has been produced in a short period, even taking into account natural cycles and the impact of events such as forest fires and heavy snowfall. The harvested area could be expected to vary by less than about 10% due to growing and seeding cycles and similar effects, according to Guido Ceccherini from the EU Joint Research Center, lead author of the study.