The temperate forest is a complex biome due to the diversity of forest types, forest cover change dynamics and forest use management practices. While temperate forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle, their net carbon exchange is uncertain. Quantifying forest cover change is an important step in documenting disturbance regimes and carbon exchange estimates. Biome-wide gross forest cover loss was estimated using a probability-based sampling approach that integrated moderate and high spatial resolution satellite data sets. Area of gross forest cover loss from 2000 to 2005 within the temperate forest biome is estimated to be 1.03% of the total biome area, or 18.41 Mha. Estimated forest cover loss represented a 3.5% reduction in year 2000 forest area. About 68% of the total forest cover loss occurred in Eastern North America and in Europe. The mid-latitude forests of the United States exhibited the highest forest cover loss rates within the biome. Biome-wide rate of gross forest cover loss gradually increased from 2001 to 2005. The lowest change was detected in 2004, followed by the year of the highest change over the 5-year period. The regional forest cover change dynamics were confirmed by official forest fire and timber production statistics. The validation of the MODIS-based product demonstrated its efficiency in forest cover mapping and monitoring. Forest cover change monitoring using the approach presented should bring greater understanding on forest cover dynamics in temperate forests and enable improved carbon accounting.