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Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe - From Science to Policy


Forests and wood products are part of the Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, which in the EU removes approximately 10% of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions, currently 256 MtCO2eq/year. According to the European Commission’s proposed policy targets, the sector needs to remove in addition approximately 50 MtCO2eq/year by 2030 and 170 MtCO2eq/year by 2050. Based on a review of the scientific literature, the new From Science to Policy study shows that the combined additional mitigation potential from avoided deforestation, afforestation/reforestation, shifts in wood use, and cascading is up to 72 MtCO2eq/year by 2050 in the EU. This could increase to 125 MtCO2eq/year when combined with forest conservation activities, 138 MtCO2eq/year when combined with other active forest management, or 143 MtCO2eq /year when combined with decreasing forest harvest.

However, the ability of forests to remove CO2 is affected by climate change because it can both increase and decrease carbon storage in forests and wood products. Moreover, limited information is currently available on the related costs and feasibility of realising the forest-based mitigation potential, and a high degree of uncertainty applies.

This study explores how the contribution by forest-based mitigation actions can be maximised, recommending that a holistic approach is adopted. Multiple forest-based mitigation activities should be combined to maximise the effect and foster synergies, interactions, co-benefits and regional applicability.

Reference information

European Forest Institute

Published in Climate-ADAPT Nov 23 2022   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Nov 23 2022

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