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Do forests cool the Earth? Reconciling sustained productivity and minimum climate response with portfolios of contrasting forest management strategies

Objective

Forests, of which globally 70% are managed, play a particularly important role in the global carbon cycle. Recently, forest management became a top priority on the agenda of the political negotiations to mitigate climate change because forest plantations may remove atmospheric CO2 and if used for energy production, the wood is a substitute for fossil fuel. However, this political imperative is at present running well ahead of the science required to deliver it. Despite the key implications of forest management on: 1) the carbon-energy-water balance, and 2) production, recreation and environmental protection, there are no integrated studies of its effects on the Earth s climate. The overall goal of DOFOCO is to quantify and understand the role of forest management in mitigating climate change. Specifically, I want to challenge the current focus on the carbon cycle and replace it with a total climate impact approach. Hence, the whole forest management spectrum ranging from short rotation coppice to old-growth forests will be analyzed for its effects on the water, energy and carbon cycles. Climate response of forest will be quantified by means of albedo, evapotranspiration, greenhouse gas sources and sinks and their resulting climate feedback mechanisms. The anticipated new quantitative results will be used to lay the foundations for a portfolio of management strategies which will sustain wood production while minimizing climate change impacts. DOFOCO is interdisciplinary and ground breaking because it brings together state-of-the art data and models from applied life and Earth system sciences; it will deliver the first quantitative insights into how forest management strategies can be linked to climate change mitigation.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/materials engineering/paper and wood
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/gas
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/botany
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/production economics/productivity

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES
Address
Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15
France
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 1 296 125
Principal investigator
Sebastiaan Luyssaert (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Excelso Da Silva (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES
France
EU contribution
€ 1 296 125
Address
Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15
Activity type
Research Organisations
Principal investigator
Sebastiaan Luyssaert (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Excelso Da Silva (Mr.)