Commentary on Ceccherini et al. (2022)
We continue this section by an ongoing discussion around forest harvest monitoring, which already resulted in three publications in our journal, after the fiery debate that followed the publication of a paper by Ceccherini et al (2020), which claimed that remote sensed data of the forest cover in Europe revealed an unprecedented increase in harvests, while Breidenbach et al (2022), claimed that national forest inventories kept no trace of such increases (other European NFIs adopted similar views).
Annals of Forest Science published three Opinions on this issue (Picard et al. 2021; Breidenbach et al, 2022 and Ceccherini et al, 2022) and we believed that this would close the debate with a consensus statement that there was a need to better tune the two approaches (remote sensing of forests and ground based approaches) in order to contribute to the development of new and really needed monitoring tools for forests at the relevant time and space scales. This need became even more visible during the year 2022 in Western Europe given the very severe combination of heat and drought that will possibly cause severe damage to trees and forests, and the large increase of burnt area (which is easier to detect).
However, Johannes Breidenbach detected in the last contribution of Ceccherini et al (2022) some aspects which he and his co-authors felt important to address. They therefore provided this response, which we publish in this new space dedicated to debates.
Breidenbach and his co-authors generally appreciate the position of Ceccherini et al (2022) that ground truth and remotely sensed data need to be combined to achieve reliable estimates. However, the latter authors make several incorrect and unfounded claims and accusations about Breidenbach et al. (2022). that should be corrected. Breidenbach and his co-authors respond here to each of three basic claims and focused on what they consider the principal points.
With this text (Commentary on Ceccherini et al. (2022), we would like to close the discussion and are awaiting novel advances in the development of forest monitoring methods that might address the current challenges facing European forests in a context of rapid climate change and frequent extreme events.
Authors: Johannes Breidenbach (*), David Ellison, Hans Petersson, Jonas Fridman, Terje Gobakken, Rasmus Astrup, Erik Næsset
*Correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: Global Forest Watch, Landsat, Remote Sensing, National Forest Inventory, Greenhouse Gas Inventory
We generally appreciate the position of Ceccherini, Duveiller et al. (2022) that ground truth and remotely sensed data need to be combined to achieve reliable estimates. However, Ceccherini, Duveiller et al. (2022) make several incorrect and unfounded claims and accusations about Breidenbach, Ellison et al. (2022). We think these claims should be corrected. We respond to each of three basic claims by Ceccherini, Duveiller et al. (2022). Due to space limitations, we have focused on what we consider the principal points.
Ceccherini G, G Duveiller, G Grassi, G Lemoine, V Avitabile, R Pilli, A Cescatti (2020) Abrupt increase in harvested forest area over Europe after 2015. Nature 583:72-77
Breidenbach J, D Ellison, H Petersson, KT Korhonen, HM Henttonen, J Wallerman, J Fridman, T Gobakken, R Astrup, E Næsset (2022) Harvested area did not increase abruptly—how advancements in satellite-based mapping led to erroneous conclusions. Annals of Forest Science 79:2. doi: 10.1186/s13595-022-01120-4
Ceccherini G, G Duveiller, G Grassi, G Lemoine, V Avitabile, R Pilli, A Cescatti (2022) Potentials and limitations of NFIs and remote sensing in the assessment of harvest rates: a reply to Breidenbach et al. Annals of Forest Science 79:31. doi: 10.1186/s13595-022-01150-y
Picard N. JM Leban, JM Guehl, E Dreyer, O Bouriaud, JD Bontemps, G Landmann, A Colin, JL Peyron, P Marty (2021). Recent increase in European forest harvests as based on area estimates (Ceccherini et al. 2020a) not confirmed in the French case. Annals of Forest Science 78, 9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-021-01030-x