Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Strategies to improve carbon storage in European forests

An EU-funded project is working on alternative management pathways for forests with the goal of finding better solutions to the carbon and climate problem.

Forest management has the potential to enhance carbon sequestration, contributing to climate change mitigation. Increase in timber harvesting, which is a renewable energy source, can also contribute to abating long-term carbon emissions, by offsetting fossil fuels consumption.

The EU-funded project 'Forest management strategies to enhance the mitigation potential of European forests' (FORMIT) aims to develop forest management scenarios for carbon sequestration in Europe, including mitigation measures and management strategies.

FORMIT is assessing the potential for carbon sequestration in different European regions, taking into account historical development in forest use and forest management. The mitigation potential of forest management strategies includes carbon storage in forest products and forest soils and substitution of fossil fuels through biomass.

In analysing trade-offs between forest functions and management strategies, FORMIT is taking into account a number of different factors. These include economics of timber production, biodiversity conservation and options for biofuel use.

Forest management options accounting for these trade-offs may include selection of tree species and tree species mixtures, choice of rotation and silvicultural techniques. In addition, they include specific measures to enhance carbon sequestration.

So far, project members have made significant efforts to develop a harmonised framework for assessing the mitigation potential of forest ecosystems at regional and European levels. They have collected existing forest data from satellites, maps, forest inventory and available statistics.

Forest management in five broad European biogeographical regions has been classified according to general management schemes. These include unmanaged forests, continuous cover forestry, short rotation and coppice systems, and even-aged forests.

FORMIT is expected to provide methodologies for assessing forest management strategies that focus on the mitigating potential of European forests as regards climate change, taking into account regional differences. The project has disseminated its activities through its website and a leaflet.

Source: © European Union, CORDIS,
last modification: 2015-07-22 10:28:02