The mitigation potential of Europe’s forests is significant, but is underutilized in the EU climate policy framework. European forests offset approximately 13% of European fossil fuel-based emissions. To increase the mitigation in forest landscapes incentives are needed and the uncertainty regarding implementation and effects of mitigation strategies must be reduced.
The aim of FORCLIMIT is to build and provide the stepping stones of an effective forest-based climate change mitigation strategy. The specific aims is:
- To analyze and suggest improvements in a unified international policy framework that facilitates consistent carbon accounting of forests across countries.
- To analyze economic and policy strategies for motivating landowners to undertake efforts for mitigation in forests and further on down the wood value chain.
- To add to an MRV system aimed at improved estimation of soils emissions and sinks, improved emissions and sinks estimates from stand to landscape level and assessment of economic and policy measures.
The overall concept of FORCLIMIT is almost cyclical (Figure 1): it rests on a combination of policy analysis, connections to strategies to motivate landowners and the required improved insights in emissions factors for soils and improved MRV.
WP1 and 2 address the forest accounting problem among Parties to the UNFCCC, i.e. how the LULUCF sector will be included in the international Paris-based and EU Climate policy framework(s). WP4 and 5 addresses how national and local level data can be improved to further reduce uncertainties.
The project further addresses strategies for incentivizing carbon-friendly efforts from the national all the way down to the landowner levels, and further to end users and consumers of forest products in WP3. The improved strategies to motivate landowners and the improved emissions factors are assessed in carbon balance models at the country level in scenario studies which span a great diversity in forestry and MRV practices and problems (WP6).
Expected results and benefits
FORCLIMIT will make a significant impact especially through the joint endeavour of policy framework, motivating landowners and improved MRVs. Thus,
- We expect optimization in the forest policy framework within the national decisionmaking frameworks, providing strategies for more rapid, cost-efficient and successful climate change mitigation.
- We also expect to identify meaningful sectoral level forest and forest resource-based mitigation strategies, to link these strategies to local landowners and regional-level climate change mitigation trategies, and to provide an important contribution to general climate change mitigation goals. Currently, the optimal range of options and how national level strategies can mobilize these resources lacks research. Consequently, the potential represented by forests and forest-based resources is not adequately integrated into the general climate policy framework.
- Further, knowledge and the successful modelling of the forest and forest-resource based sequestration potential has been hampered by the lack of good soil-based models. We will integrate soil modelling into our analysis of forest and forest resource-based mitigation potentials. Incorporation of soil carbon inputs in local estimates (local MRV) is also a prerequisite for implementing local mitigation strategies. We expect these components to have an important impact on future modelling and estimation/monitoring potential and thus the pursuit of forest-based mitigation goals.