Enhancing science-based knowledge on EU forests’, including old-growth forests, capacities to mitigate climate change
Carbon sequestration by forest ecosystems has attracted much interest as a mitigation approach, as it can be considered as a relatively inexpensive option to address climate change in the short- medium- and long term. Forest lands, covered by the regulation on land use, land-use changes and forestry, are expected to contribute to the achievement of Europe's climate ambition for 2030. As shown in the in-depth analysis in support of the “Clean Planet for all” communication, this contribution needs to be increasing to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
This topic aims to increase the science-based knowledge for an efficient implementation of good management practices that ensure the multiple functions of various forest types in Europe and to increase forest carbon stocks in the short-, medium-, and long-term.
- Contribute to a better understanding of favourable management practices for both soil and vegetation, within-species genetic diversity upon, species selection and rotations to enhance and climate-proof forest carbon stocks (considering both in situ carbon sequestration and carbon storage in long-lived wood products) and sinks, while considering the broad range of other forest values and ecosystem services.
- Consider the dynamics of the carbon stored in the different pools (above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, deadwood, litter, soil organic carbon fractions, harvested wood products) under different forest management regimes and at different scales (EU-wide, national, local) to identify possible adaptations to current European models of sustainable forest management, so that the forest-based sector can optimise climate action, and to facilitate the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions.
- Improve the integration of European forests, including forest practices, in global and regional climate modelling.
- Contribute to progress in the certification and authenticity verification of carbon removals that are nature-based (i.e. through forest protection, afforestation and sustainable forest management) or through the forest biomass used for longer-lived and higher-substitution products.
- Design and monitor the efficacy of forest-based mitigation plans, combining the growing potential of satellite-based remote sensing with surface monitoring.
- Develop recommendations for up-take in practice, including specifying which silvicultural measures to apply to which types of forest in order to maximise their mitigation potential while ensuring the provision of other ecosystem services, under the current and future climate, while fully respecting ecological principles favourable to biodiversity and soil conservation.
- Analyse socio-economic aspects of forest-based mitigation strategies, including forest managers’ and users’ perception and factors influencing their decision making such as consumer choices, sectorial integration and international/domestic competition.
- Improve knowledge on the environmental integrity, the social acceptability and the economic feasibility of forest-based mitigation actions such as afforestation, reforestation, forest restoration, forest protection, sustainable forest management and enhanced wood harvest and use, especially for long-lived products.
Proposals must implement the ‘multi-actor approach’ and should include a task to collaborate with other projects financed under the topic HORIZON-CL6-2022-CLIMATE-01-05: Forestry - European observatory of climate change impacts and demonstration network of climate smart restoration pilots.
This topic should involve effective contribution of SSH disciplines.