Methods: Based on a large dataset of 714,000 re-measured trees in National Forest inventories from 13 regions, we are now able to analyse actual forest harvesting.
Conclusions: From this large set of repeated tree measurements we can conclude that there is no such thing as yield table harvesting in Europe. We found general trends of increasing harvest probability with higher productivity of the region and the species, but with important deviations related to local conditions like site accessibility, state of the forest resource (like age), specific subsidies, importance of other forest services, and ownership of the forest. As a result, we find a huge diversity in harvest regimes. Over the time period covered in our inventories, the average harvest probability over all regions was 2.4% yr-1 (in number of trees) and the mortality probability was 0.4% yr-1. Our study provides underlying and most actual data that can serve as a basis for quantifying ‘continuation of current forest management’. It can be used as a cornerstone for the base period as required for the Forest Reference Level for EU Member States.