Little Picture - tree loss vs tree gain

recovering forests do not recover all of their lost carbon

Tropical forests are vital ecosystems in the fight against climate change. Yet vast areas of forest are still degraded or lost through deforestation and environmental changes, despite countries pledging forest restoration.

A new study, that uses satellite data from ESA’s Climate Change Initiative, reveals that recovering forests only successfully combat a quarter of the current carbon emissions.

fire fingerprints


The Little Picture reveals that recovering forests only successfully combat a quarter of the current carbon emissions based on a recent study which uses satellite data from ESA’s Climate Change Initiative,


This Little Picture was produced in Photoshop but is based on key results from the following paper, so although it is data-driven it was not created using script.

Heinrich, V.H.A., Vancutsem, C., Dalagnol, R. et al. The carbon sink of secondary and degraded humid tropical forests. Nature 615, 436–442 (2023).


This little picture is published under CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

The big picture

The European Space Agency (ESA), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) work closely together to measure, process & make space-derived information about the climate available.


The mission of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) is to realise the full potential of the long-term global Earth Observation archives that the European Space Agency (ESA), together with its Member states, has established over the past 40 years, as a significant and timely contribution to the climate databases required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The ESA Climate Office provides a free & open CCI data facility bringing together ECV data from across its twenty-seven climate science projects, including a CCI Data Standards and a CCI Toolbox.


The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) supports society by providing freely available authoritative information about the past, present and future climate in Europe and the rest of the World. C3S is one of the six thematic information services provided by the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme of the European Union, and has been entrusted by the European Commission to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). One of the core components of C3S includes the Climate Data Store (CDS). This is a one-stop shop for climate information. It provides free and easy access to a wide range of climate datasets via a searchable catalogue. A freely available online toolbox allows users to build workflows and applications suited to their needs.


EUMETSAT operates missions both to provide weather and climate data for its member states, and as an entrusted entity under the Copernicus programme. Several missions are operated collaboratively with ESA, providing complimentary expertise and data processing, to process and distribute land, marine, and atmosphere relevant products for users. Data from EUMETSAT operated missions is frequently available in near-real-time, facilitating rapid monitoring and forecasting. Via EUMETCast, the EUMETSAT Data Services, or WEkEO, users can access data in ways that suit their needs. The data is used by the EUMETSAT satellite applications facilities, as well as across the various Copernicus Services.


Burned area across Europe - streamograph