It seems as though dire predictions of U.S. forest decline continue to roll off the presses. Even the Nation’s forest census, the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program, has measured elevated levels of tree mortality in many forest types - mostly as a result of fires, drought, and insect outbreaks. However, in contrast to these indicators of decline, the FIA program also shows substantial regeneration and regrowth. In our recent paper (Klesse et al., 2018), we use a new network of tree-ring data collected in FIA plots to compare two predictions of forest decline, the first based on the forest inventory sample and the second based on a public tree-ring archive, the International Tree-Ring Data Bank (ITRDB). The result: how we sample trees makes a big difference in projected forest decline.