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FORest management strategies to enhance the MITigation potential of European forests

Final Report Summary - FORMIT (FORest management strategies to enhance the MITigation potential of European forests)

Executive Summary:
Forest management may invoke continuous carbon sequestration, while timber and forest biomass as renewable resources can sequester carbon as well, and also may serve as a substitute for fossil-based products or energy or fossil-energy intensive materials, thus multiplying this mitigation effect. The EU-FORMIT project aimed to develop forest management scenarios for carbon sequestration in Europe, including mitigation measures and management strategies for different regions, and accounting for trade-offs with other forest functions. To assess the contribution of forest and forest products to carbon storage and mitigation, as well as the environmental impact of mitigation scenarios in the European forest sector, the complete life cycle including forest establishment, forest management, product processing, product use and waste disposal have to be considered. This robust multi-sourced pan-European database ensured reliable information on the starting conditions of the scenario analysis including forest inventory data, daily climate information and remotely sensed forest information. The overall analysis includes options for biofuel use, links between biodiversity conservation and management strategies, and economics of timber production and market impacts. Mitigation encompasses carbon storage in forests, carbon in forest products, and substitution of fossil fuel. Forest management options aimed at mitigation need to account for trade-offs between forest functions and include modifying tree species and mixtures, rotation and silviculture techniques.

European forests cover 40 % of the European land area and are important for a wood-based industry. They sequester large amounts of carbon and thus mitigate climate change effects. However they are also affected by changing climate. European forests exhibit an average growing stock of 179.8 m³ per hectare, and living carbon stocks of 70.7 tC per hectare. They are about 60 years old with an average height of 14.1 m. Hotspots of European carbon stocks in forests with more than 110 tC ha-1 are located in Germany, Czech Republic and Slovenia. Total carbon stocks of European forests are about 210 billion m³ (entire Europe using MODIS forest cover).

A regional forest growth simulator responsive to both management decisions and climate change was developed. This model combines a process-based carbon balance approach to forest productivity with a strong empirical component based on national forest inventory (NFI) data. The model was used to obtain estimates of carbon storage and fluxes at the forest site above and below ground, as well as amount of harvested wood products (separated by product assortments such as round-, pulp, or fuelwood) and forest biomass used for energy, under chosen climate scenarios, and for different forest management scenarios.

Simulations were carried out for the different management scenarios using three different future climate change scenarios and the “current climate” scenario. The demand of wood products was estimated using an economic equilibrium market model, EFI-GTM. In addition to those “market-driven scenarios”, only forest management rules limited the cuttings in the “forest-management driven” scenarios.

The results indicate an increase in volume stocks in the future because the demand for roundwood is lower than forest growth, which leads to aging of the European forests. Even under very high harvests (where no market clearance was considered), the current forest management rules generally do not result in a long-term decline in forest growth, while maintaining criteria of sustainability, if natural disturbances can be kept in check. Management has a greater impact on growing stock, harvest potential and carbon balance than projected climate change unless disturbance rates increase considerably due to extreme events.

In addition to estimating carbon in European forests, the study assessed the contribution of forest and forest products to carbon storage and mitigation, as well as the environmental impact of mitigation scenarios in the European forest sector. The analysis was done considering partial cradle-to-gate, gate-to-gate, gate-to-grave as well as the full cradle-to-grave systems. Focusing on the results for the full LCA system, no general conclusions can be drawn, as the scenario with the higher/lower environmental burden depends on the year of analysis and on the impact category. The carbon stored throughout the wood chain shows an increasing trend for Central West and North Europe. For South East Europe, the carbon stored is mostly decreasing. For the Central East and South West, the carbon stored shows both periods of increase and decrease.

The differences in market impacts between the Business-as-Usual scenario (BAU) and the Biodiversity scenario (where harvest is reduced and forest management changed drastically), suggest that annually 78-100% of the annual harvest reductions that would take place in the EU in the Biodiversity scenario relative to BAU, would be offset by an opposite change in rest of the World during the period 2015-2100. These harvest leakage findings imply that when estimating global climate mitigation impacts of reduced harvest in the EU, it is important to consider the harvest leakage impacts to other regions to avoid biased estimations of net global climate impacts.

The differences regarding gross sales and value added of harvest and forest industries productions were large between the three scenarios Biodiversity, BAU and MaxBioenergy. Concerning the economic impacts on non-market ecosystem services, a literature overview of economic impact of non-market ecosystem services related to forestry, focusing on three different forest ecosystem services: recreation, water supply and carbon storage, revealed large variations in the reported economic values of these services. As a consequence, it is very difficult to provide general results as they are very site specific regarding forest area and types considered, scopes, valuation methods used and units of measure applied.

The scenario analysis, using the results obtained as part of the project when assuming market clearance (i.e. assuming supply equal to demand for each product and year), limits the harvested volumes compared to what is biologically possible to harvest). In 2100 standing volumes in the market-driven scenarios double those observed in 2010 as harvest volumes are half of the increment. Including timber utilization the differences in carbon offsets between the basic approaches are not pronounced, as in all approaches only a limited part of the forest growth is utilized. The scenario in which harvesting volumes are not restricted by market demands, results in pronounced differences between the three approaches. Average annual harvests and final growing stocks amount to 72 Mio. m3 /37.4 Gt CO2eq (Nature conservation), 100 Mio. m3 / 35 Gt CO2eq (BAU) and 125 Mio. m3 / 16 Gt CO2eq (Bioenergy). Analysis of alternative climate change scenarios from moderate (RCP 2.6) to pronounced change (RCP 8.5) result in an increase of productivity in the Nordic and central European region, while in southern Europe growth reductions are likely to occur under RCP 8.5. The cultivation of new, climate-adapted species may increase the productivity of forests by up to 25 percent. The results indicate the need for policy measures to overcome limitations by actual market demands in order to fully utilize the mitigation potential of the combined forestry and wood sector.

Project Context and Objectives:
Forests store large amounts of carbon and thus play a key role in the global carbon budget and in mitigating climate change. Conversely, forest degradation, mortality and disturbances lead to carbon emissions, with global deforestation being a major contributing factor to the increase in atmospheric CO2. Therefore, how forests are managed greatly influences the amount of carbon stored in biomass, soils, and forest products. While forest management has to achieve multiple objectives, mitigation of climate change is becoming an increasingly important objective. This objective can be achieved by (i) increasing carbon storage in the terrestrial biosphere (soils and biomass), (ii) using renewable forest products as building material and (iii) substituting fossil fuels with biofuels.

Greenhouse gas emissions including atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have steadily increased since pre-industrial times, contributing to temperature increases in many parts of the world. In 2008, total anthropogenic emissions reached a record high of 7.7 Pg C (7.7 billion tons carbon) emitted from fossil fuel combustion, with an additional 1.2 Pg C by indirect emissions from land-use changes. Continuation of this trend is expected to lead to significant changes in global ecosystems. Terrestrial ecosystems and particularly forests sequester about 29% or 2.7 Pg C (year 2008) of the total anthropogenic carbon emissions. Without forests, the current atmospheric CO2 concentration of 385 ppm would be 30% higher than it is today. Any changes in forest cover would greatly affect the mitigation potential of forest ecosystems. Managing forest ecosystems for sequestering carbon (mitigating climate change) is of increasing importance and requires consistent and transparent monitoring of the forests carbon cycle across multiple scales.

Forest management in temperate regions currently offsets between 5 to 10% of CO2 emissions. If we want to further increase this percentage, we have to incorporate this new forest function into forest management practices. Mitigation through forest management has to be quantified and evaluated against the potential effect on other forest functions, such as mitigation effect by substituting fossil fuels with forest biomass. Bearing in mind the other economic functions of forests, forest management could be an easy to implement, potentially very substantial mitigation option that may have multiple other benefits for society (e.g. recreation, biodiversity) and can be self-funding as part of regular forest management.

The considerable potential of forests to mitigate climate change calls for analysis of carbon sequestration options in relation to different forest management strategies, taking into account soil, climate and socio-economic conditions in different regions in Europe. Sustainable forest management ensures sustainable carbon storage, while maintaining other forest functions. In Europe, sustainable forest management has been defined by the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe. This concept has to be made operational on regional and local scales in the context of climate change mitigation. Including carbon sequestration and storage as an objective for forest management may shift management targets, depending on the weight allocated to the individual forest functions. As forest management encompasses long time horizons and decision-making under uncertainty, it requires flexibility and is in itself adaptive. Thus, management objectives to increase carbon storage and sequestration can be implemented immediately, and may not even require major changes to forest management strategies. Forest managers need to be made more explicitly aware of the consequences of different management strategies and their impact on forest goods and services (e.g. biodiversity, water quality, flood prevention, soil protection, and recreation) as well as the long-term consequences for sustainability and competitiveness of the forest sector.

Options for climate change mitigation must be compared and evaluated, also accounting for other forest values and ecosystem services provided by forest ecosystems and forest management. A good example is biodiversity, which will be affected by climate change and changing management practices potentially leading to increased extinction rates of some species. Forest management options may include selection of tree species and tree species mixtures, choice of rotation and silvicultural techniques, and specific measures to enhance carbon sequestration. Together these comprise a forest management strategy, which has to be specific to account for local conditions, and adaptive to provide flexibility to take account of climate change impacts on forests as well as variable trade-offs with other forest functions, should the need arise in the future. In this way, forest management can contribute to climate change mitigation while maintaining the competitiveness of the forest sector in Europe.

Forest management in Europe is in a transition phase. Historic management systems had long-term objectives assuming stable site conditions, whereas current forest management strategies have to be flexible and adaptive to take account of changing societal needs, and to contribute to major development targets in society, such as a sustainable supply with natural resources, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity conservation. In the past, the importance of forests for these broad societal objectives was investigated for single forest functions, such as timber production or biodiversity conservation. Although case studies have been emerging that combine wood production, carbon sequestration and other objectives at different spatial scales, there is until now no comprehensive European perspective. Insights from single objective studies need to be integrated and synthesized at European level, and translated into management options and strategies which forest managers can choose.

In Europe there are 1.02 billion hectares forest, of which 157 million ha in the EU27. Forests cover 45% of the total European land area (38% in the EU27) and 25% of the world total. Over the last 20 years, the forest area has expanded in all European regions, by a total of 17 million hectares (11 million ha in the EU27). On average, Europe’s forest area has increased by 0.8 million hectares (0.08%) per year. However, the trend in forest availability for wood supply is the reverse. Between 1990 and 2010, the forest area available for wood supply decreased in almost all European regions except for central western Europe and south-western Europe. The total growing stock in European forests was 114.2 billion m3 (112 m3 per hectare on average) of which 96 billion m3 was available for wood supply. In the same period, the total growing stock in European forests increased by 8.639 million m3 (4.989 million m3 in the EU27). Growing stock has increased faster than forest area, which means that average standing wood volume per hectare in Europe has increased (all data from the State of Europe’s Forests 2011 report).

Between 2005 and 2010, annual amounts of about 870 and 430 Mt CO2 in the European region and EU27, respectively, were removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis and by increases in tree biomass. This corresponds to about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in these countries in 2008. The EC plan for greenhouse gas reduction calls for a 20% reduction by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 emission levels. While emission reduction is the primary goal, increasing carbon sinks will significantly contribute to achieving the greenhouse gas reduction targets.

To meet 2020 targets for CO2 emission reduction and increased use of renewable energy agreed by members of the European Union, forest-rich countries plan to increase their bio-energy output significantly. More research is being done on soil sustainability in relation to forest bio-energy in Europe, and long-term research findings and national guidelines need to be constantly updated to ensure sustainable use of forests for energy.

The specific FORMIT project objectives were as follows:
• assess the potential for carbon sequestration in different regions of Europe, taking into account historical development in forest use and forest management;
• assess the mitigation potential of forest management strategies, including carbon storage in forest products, substitution of fossil fuels, and substitution of high-emission building material in these regions;
• assess the trade-offs between (i) forest carbon sequestration and mitigation through forest management, (ii) the production of forest products, including wood and bio-energy production, and (iii) the production of other goods and services, such as berries or cork, biodiversity conservation, soil protection, water quality, flood prevention, and recreation;
• develop scenarios and pathways for carbon sequestration in forests in Europe, including measures and management strategies for climate change mitigation, taking into account regional differences in Europe, potential climate change impacts, and changes in species composition;

New forest management scenarios for greater carbon sinks in and outside the forest need to take into consideration that higher timber demand for long-term uses may require different and potentially more intensive forest management. This may imply such decisions as involving shorter rotation periods, more frequent thinning with possibly adverse effects on other forest functions, such as biodiversity loss. In such cases, the key issue is to make decisions regarding forest management when higher carbon-based timber demand is supported by statistical trends with regard to sound timber use, such as new construction prototypes, new technologies for wood protection against fire, rotting and insects, and logistic facilities for higher recycling rates of wood products, such as paper, paperboards, and furniture.

Thus, important aspects in developing new strategies for higher carbon sink ratios are appropriate timing and synchronising of strategy adoption with development of infrastructure for more carbon sequestration in wood used outside the forest. We have formulated these requirements in a set of criteria with regard to issues such as recycling rate of paper and paperboards, longer life cycles for furniture (where possible to assess), greater timber input in construction materials and furniture, and more timber houses on the domestic market. This is important to reach a balance between larger carbon sinks in wood products and forests on the one hand, and for example more soil erosion and less biodiversity on the other hand.

Project Results:
Assessment of total carbon storage in European forests (WP1)

European forests cover 40 % of the European land area and are important for a wood-based industry. They sequester large amounts of carbon and thus mitigate climate change. However they are also affected by changing climate. The purpose of this work was to provide consistent forest inventory data to assess the current state of carbon storage and carbon sink within European forests. We provide consistent data products derived from a combination of terrestrial forest inventory driven data with air-borne remote sensing information as well as biogeochemical modelling theories. The key products include a database on forest information using more than 600.000 plots from ongoing forest inventory systems, 1-km continuous pan-European net primary productivity (NPP) data, gridded 1-km daily climate data since 1950 and pan-European gridded maps on key forest data such as tree carbon and growing stock. In our work we combine the advantages of the different data sets, such as the continuous coverage of forests using remote sensing data and the terrestrial NFI data capturing forest management effects and providing carbon stocks.

With the collated data we are able to study the role of forests in Europe at any spatial resolution, independent of regional or country specific limitations. The identified specific features of the generated data products (i.e. effect of carbon estimation methods, limitations of remote sensing data in capturing forest management effects) are documented and we provide concepts to the data user to accommodate them in future applications. This database permits productivity assessments for all the vegetation in Europe including shrub-, and woodlands, independent from available terrestrial information.

Our results suggest an average annual forest productivity for the period 2000 to 2012 of 577 gC m-2 year-1. This implies a biomass production of about 1.2 kg per square meter and year, with about 40% allocated into the woody biomass. In some regions the local conditions allow higher production rates such as France (666 gC m-2 year-1 ) or Italy (657 gC m-2 year-1) that exceed the European average. Such information is important to assess the available resources for a bio-based economy. We quantify the European forest resources with unprecedented detail by allowing any spatial resolution by providing pan-European continuous maps of forest characteristics such as carbon stocks and growing stocks, but also tree age, stem number or diameter distribution. With this information we can perform quality controls of existing reporting systems such as FAO reporting.

European forests exhibit an average growing stock of 179.8 m³ ha-1 , a carbon stock of 70.7 tC ha-1 in living biomass, they are about 60 years old with an average height of 14.1 m. Hotspots of European carbon stocks with more than 110 tC ha-1 are located in Germany, Czech Republic and Slovenia. Total carbon stocks of European forests are about 210 billion m³ (entire Europe using MODIS forest cover).
Since centuries European forests are managed and climate change is considered as an additional driver. Combining our climate data reaching until 1950 and the gridded maps on forest characteristics, we discovered that European forests have lost about 6.5% of their potential basal area during the last 60 years. Currently European forests are mostly limited by minimum temperature in the North, maximum temperature in the South, while precipitation is the most limiting climatic factor in Central Europe. Comparing forests conserved under the Natura 2000 program with managed forests suggests that European forest management results in forests which are as robust as the conserved forest with similar productivity. Only in the south we found substantial differences of conserved versus managed forests due to the long lasting historic management practices (e.g. short rotation coppice forest system) within the region.

Effect of forest management strategies on carbon storage (WP2)

As part of the FORMIT Project, a regional forest growth simulator responsive to both management actions and climate change was developed. This model combines a process-based carbon balance approach to forest productivity with a strong empirical component based on national forest inventory (NFI) data. The model produces estimates of carbon storage and fluxes at the forest site above and below ground, as well as wood production of roundwood in forest product assortments and forest biomass, under chosen climate scenarios, and for different forest management scenarios.

The model was parameterised using NFI data from 13 European countries and was extended to the rest of Europe on the basis of remotely sensed data. The parameterisation was done for seven ecologically based species groups. Forest management schemes were defined for these groups in six different silvicultural systems in terms of harvest timing and intensity. A Business as Usual (BAU) scenario of forest management was defined as management that retains the current proportions of the silvicultural systems by species. Alternative management scenarios were defined as deviations from BAU to analyse the impacts of different management goals on forest production and carbon balance.

Simulations were carried out for the different management scenarios using three different climate change scenarios and the “current climate” scenario. The demand of wood products was estimated (1) using an economic equilibrium market model, EFI-GTM and (2) assuming that only forest management rules limited the cuttings.

The results show a tendency of volume stocks to increase in the future because the demand of roundwood is lower than forest growth, leading to forest aging. Even when assuming very high harvest levels (without considering demand), the current forest management rules generally do not result in a long-term decline in the stocks if natural disturbances are kept in check. Management has a greater impact on growing stocks, harvest potential and carbon balance than projected climate change unless disturbance rates increase considerably due to extreme events.

Contribution of forest products to carbon storage and mitigation (WP3)

As part of the project, we assessed the contribution of forest and forest products use to carbon storage and mitigation, and the environmental impact of mitigation scenarios in the European forest sector. Regarding the carbon accounting, the wood was followed from the forest until final disposal. When considering the wood products, past data on production was considered to estimate the actual stock of wood products in use accumulated from their historical use. This information was necessary for the accounting of both the current year carbon release from the total stock as it goes out of use, and the temporary carbon storage of the wood products in use nowadays. The exclusion of past stock changes of wood products would overestimate current year net additions to the pool of wood products, leading to an underestimation of the current carbon release (IPCC 2006).

The environmental impact of mitigation scenarios was estimated through the use of a life cycle approach. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an ISO standardised methodology (ISO 14040-14046: 2006) in which environmental impacts can be assessed throughout the life cycle of products and their functions. LCA typically evaluates systems from raw material acquisition, over processing up to end-product use and waste disposal. Within the FORMIT project, the life cycle impact was assessed using the ReCiPe method, by Pré Consultants (https://www.pre-sustainability.com/recipe). Of the 18 midpoint impact categories, the most relevant ones were analysed in detail. These are climate change, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, agricultural land occupation, water depletion and fossil fuel depletion.

The chosen methodology in WP3 aimed at assessing the complete life cycle of the wood supply chain. Conceptually, this was done by splitting it into 4 different phases, namely (i) forest management; (ii) wood processing; (iii) wood use; and (iv) end of life. Each of these four phases was modelled through a modular approach and the flows of material were linked with each other adding the transportation effort, when necessary. For each phase, different gate-to-gate life cycle inventories (LCIs), the data collection part of the LCA, were built. At the end, through a vertical aggregation procedure, all sub-LCIs were linked to produce a full cradle-to-grave LCI, on the basis of which the environmental impact of the system was estimated, thus obtaining the full LCA. The BAU scenario was the counterfactual against which the mitigation potential and the environmental impacts of 2 different explorative strategies were evaluated.

All these analyses are spatio-temporally explicit, as both the inventory and the impact assessment phases took into account when (between 2010 and 2010) and where (in which ecoregion and country) it happened. Each scenario was simulated by the FORMIT model on forest growth, with outputs such as removals from forests and the stocks of carbon. The yearly removals simulated from this forest growth model served as an input for the European Forest Institute Global Trade Model (EFI-GTM) forest sector model, to simulate the production of semi-finished products. With this information and on basis of the lifetime analysis of the material flow, the amount of wood disposed every year, and consequentially the one in use, was assessed. The overlapping shapes indicate the spatial explicit nature of the analysis (one shape=one country). The overlapping of LCI system boundaries, instead, stands for the construction of a different LCI for each time step. This way, all these LCIs will receive a time dimension, and thus are becoming dynamic, so that environmental impacts (LCIA) are calculated over time. At the end, by summing up the timelines of impacts of all these LCIAs, we obtain a time and space explicit, TiSpa, LCA.

The performed analysis allowed us to draw results both on the cradle-to-grave system and its cradle-to-gate, gate-to-gate and gate-to-grave subsystems. Starting with the cradle-to-gate system, namely the forest establishment and management (until the wood is at the forest road), the analysis allowed us to have a glimpse into the environmental impact from European forests. For the categories of global warming potential, fossil fuel depletion, terrestrial acidification potential and freshwater eutrophication potential, the obtained results can be summarized as follows:

Central East & Central West Europe: Biodiv scenario holds the lower impact per unit of carbon sequestered (i.e. per unit of NPP – Net Primary Production) due to the lower intensity of management (which implies also less wood supplied); before about 2050 the BAU scenario holds the higher impact; after about 2050 the MaxBio scenario holds the higher impact
North Europe: For most years the MaxBio scenario presents the lower impact per NPP; the BAU scenario holds the higher impact. South East Europe: no conclusions can be drawn.
South West Europe: BAU scenario holds the lower impact; MaxBio scenario holds the higher impact

For the categories of agricultural land occupation and water depletion potential the following main results are observed: Central East Europe – Biodiv scenario holds the lower impact per NPP; the podium for the higher impact scenario is shared by the BAU and MaxBio scenarios; Central West Europe – although is not possible to draw a clear conclusion, the BAU scenario tends to present the higher impact per NPP; Biodiv scenario tends to present the lower impact; North Europe – no conclusions can be drawn; South East Europe – no conclusions can be drawn; South West Europe – BAU scenario holds the lower impact; MaxBio scenario holds the higher impact

The role of the even-aged forest management with shelterwood and uniform clear-cut should be noted. In fact, this type of management is quite common in Europe holding also a significant role in the observed total impact. This is true for all categories of impact and ecoregions considered. While the results for North, Central East and Central West Europe are rather robust and reliable due to substantial amount of country-specific data available from the NFI and collected through the questionnaire, for the two southern regions the paucity of data and the need of using proxy-data makes the estimations more subject to uncertainty.

When compared to the state of the art as presented by an existing database (ecoinvent), the here presented work is a step forward in the established knowledge. Although with limitations, the presented work successfully describes, in a systematic and comprehensive way, the forest management options of more than 20 European countries. For each country, the most relevant forest types are considered. For each forest type, the typical characteristics are taken into consideration, including the type of operations, machinery, rotation length. Summing up, within FORMIT we were able to build a database of valuable information, with the potential to be further used and analysed within the scientific community.

In a context where the climate change potential is often a subject on the table and awareness is being raised for other environmental impact categories, the knowledge here gathered largely contributes to the state of art. From the policy making point of view, the obtained results can and should be considered when the strategic documents regarding the wood sector are drawn within the European Commission framework.

Socio-economic aspects of forest management for carbon storage and mitigation (WP4)

As part of the project, the balance between net annual increment and annual felling of wood were assessed, together with the value and quantity of marketed roundwood, net revenue and profitability of the proposed forest management strategies from the perspective of the forest owners, and employment in the forest sector. As part of this, the impacts of the proposed forest management strategies on forest product markets in the EU (wood consumption, production, contribution to GDP, net import and prices of timber and forest products were assessed, accounting for the carbon leakage impacts of the proposed management strategies for the EU, approximated through the estimation of harvest leakage. To evaluate the overall consequences of different stand treatment, the socio-economic impacts of the proposed forest management strategies on non-marketed forest ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, biodiversity, water catchment, and recreation were evaluated. However, the existing studies on the economic value of non-market goods and services were found to be of such quality and site-specificity that they could not be used in an overall analysis at the European level as in the FORMIT project.
This has been done by collecting forest management costs and income data through a questionnaire with main results showing silviculture investment costs, thinning costs and income, clear felling costs and income, timing of each intervention, profitability estimates measured as net present value or internal rate of return (IRR). Generally, the results show a large variation within and across countries, management systems and species groups with respect to income and costs. The observed variation is as expected, and may be due to a number of factors, such as differences in growing conditions, differences in economic and socio-economic factors between countries/regions including how risks/uncertainty reconsidered, and differences in how the management systems are applied, e.g. rotation length, planting densities, considerations to environmental factors.

Using the global partial equilibrium model EFI-GTM and the FORMIT forest simulation model in combination, market impacts of the BAU and two alternative scenarios – the Bioenergy and Biodiversity scenarios - were analysed. The Biodiversity scenario is the same as BAU on the demand side, but differs from BAU on the biomass supply side as it assumes 20% of the EU forest growing stock set aside in 2010, longer rotation periods and some other changes in the forest management, e.g. increasing the share of mixed species forests and stands with continuous cover, and no logging residues removals in the EU region. The Bioenergy scenario differs on the demand side (higher energy wood demand in Europe and globally), but also on the wood supply side – shorter rotation periods, selection of the faster growing species and high share of residues removals.

Compared to the Biodiversity scenario (BIODIV) the BAU scenario gives about a 50% increase of the roundwood harvest in EU by 2100. From a net importer of wood, the EU region becomes a minor wood exporter after 2035. From the economic point of view, the model results show that the Bioenergy scenario will substantially increase EU forest owner’s gross income from selling wood, forest industries gross sales and value added, while employment will be marginally lower than in the BAU scenario.

The analysis of carbon leakage was estimated as harvest leakage for the Biodiversity scenario, as harvest leakage relative to the harvest in the BAU scenario. The leakage was defined as the ratio At/Bt, where Bt is the annual harvest decrease in the EU in year t when going from scenario BAU to scenario Maximum Biodiversity, and At is the corresponding total annual harvest increase between the two scenarios outside EU in year t. Using the EFI-GTM model, this leakage rate was estimated to be 78-100% meaning that 78-100% of the annual harvest reductions that would take place in the EU in the Biodiversity scenario relative to BAU, would be offset by a harvest increase in the rest of the World during the period 2015-2100. The harvest leakage findings imply that when estimating global climate mitigation impacts of changed harvest in the EU, it is important to consider the harvest leakage impacts to other regions outside the EU, to avoid wrong estimations of net global climate impacts of the EU changes.

Concerning the economic impacts on non-market ecosystem services, a literature overview of economic impact of non-market ecosystem services related to forestry, focusing on three different forest ecosystem services: recreation, water supply and carbon storage, revealed large variations in the reported economic values of these services. As a consequence, it is very difficult to provide general results as they are very site specific regarding forest area and types considered, scopes, valuation methods used and units of measure applied

Scenarios for forest management strategies for carbon storage & mitigation in Europe (WP5)

The main FORMIT scenarios represent various management options with different objectives, and integrate the results from WP2 (forest growth), WP3 (LCA) and WP4 (economic analysis), A scenario modelling approach was chosen to assess the combined effect of forest carbon stock development and timber utilization under varying assumptions. The assumptions relate to alternatives for forest management, energetic and material use of timber, and climate change. The methodological approach of scenario analyses offers the possibility to study the interactions of the forest and timber sector in a holistic way and to identify the mitigation and adaptation potential of alternative management and utilization combinations. The scenarios constitute Representative Adaptation and Mitigation Pathways (RAMPs) that describe the future development of European forest and respective timber utilization under different forest management regimes.
The definition of scenarios can be guided on one hand by the timber production potential of forests, on the other hand by the quantitative demands of the timber market. Therefore two alternative scenario approaches were utilized: forest management driven scenarios providing timber quantities not restricted by market demands (called _FM scenarios), and scenarios limiting the purchase volumes by anticipated market demands (called _ECON scenarios). For both alternatives sub-scenarios were defined.

The FORMIT forest management scenarios were defined (WP2, D2.1) in order to serve various scenario objective:
1) Business-as-Usual (BAU) scenario, defined and simulated as a baseline scenario reflecting actual forest management in the European regions.
2) Climate change adaptation, including measures aiming at the contribution to climate change mitigation
3) Bioenergy; maximization of wood provision,
4) Nature conservation and biodiversity protection; maximization of carbon storage in European forests contributing,
5) Material substitution, production of wood for material use,
6) Maximization of the carbon offset following site quality adapted forest management alternatives, and
7) Unmanaged forests without any harvest operations

The simulation of the base scenarios (1 to 6) was completed by varying the rotation length of clearcut management systems in the BAU scenario and a scenario calculating with constant demand and an additional one with constant climate, both simulating the actual level at begin of the simulation period. The wide spectrum of scenarios was simulated with the forest growth simulator developed by WP2.3 in order to study the future forest development.

The elaboration of the final options for representative, adaptation and mitigation pathways (RAMPs) was based on evaluations of seven quantitative variables provided by forest growth simulations. Three of those output variables were used for describing the stocks, two for describing the increment/carbon sequestration and two for the harvesting regime. All those groups of variables consists of one variable dealing with the volume of merchantable wood.

There are three possible paths on which forests may contribute to climate change mitigation. Forests sequester carbon which is afterwards emitted back to the atmosphere with biomass decomposition. Net sequestration throughout a specific simulation period, hence, contributes to the increase in carbon removals and, hence, to climate change mitigation – at least temporary. As long as the carbon is stored only in the forest the contribution to climate change mitigation can be measured as an increase in forest carbon stocks. The second path of the potential climate change mitigation is the storage of carbon in harvested wood products (HWP). The harvesting of wood and utilization induces additional climate change mitigation by material and energetic substitution and the long term storage of carbon in wood products. Hence, wood production is the third quantifiable path of the potential climate change mitigation of (European) forests.

Impacts of management on growth and carbon storage in Europe

According to the first objective and task 5.1 the impacts of general forest management strategies on growth rates and potential carbon storage were analysed and presented according to the FORMIT forest management scenarios. The scenarios BAU, climate adaptation, bioenergy, nature conservation, material substitution and maximum carbon offset were run in two alternative scenario approaches: market driven and merely forest management driven. The market driven scenario runs assumed that the management practices defined for each scenario are implemented according to the predefined forest management alternatives and the actual (and expected future) production costs and market demands for wood products and, hence, for harvested wood assortments. Supply and demand are balanced according to market prizes. The merely forest management driven scenario runs allow for the assessment of the maximum extension of harvest amounts with respect to underlying biological limits.

Forest stocks, growth rates and harvesting rates were analysed and described for the simu¬lated future development of European forests. For the market driven scenarios, the simula¬tions showed that stem carbon stocks steadily and substantially increase throughout the entire simulation period from 2010 to 2100. The annual harvest amounts at approximately 50% of the annual increment and resulted in 395 106 t CO2eq in 2100. For the forest area of the FORMIT relevant part of Europe (176 million hectares of forest, with Russia, Iceland, Ukraine, Cyprus, and Turkey being excluded) the annual harvest rate approaches roughly 2,24 m³ per hectare. Under the BAU scenario the merchantable biomass carbon stock was ~27.5 t CO2eq in 2010 (~150 t/ha CO2eq) and increases to ~54.5 109 t CO2eq in 2100 (~300 t/ha CO2eq).

The trend of aboveground living biomass found for all management scenarios was similar to that of merchantable biomass. Absolute values in terms of the results on above¬ground stocks simulated for BAU scenario in Europe were ~43.2 109 t CO2eq in 2010 and ~67.2 109 t CO2eq in 2100. The differentiation found between the FORMIT scenarios was not pronounced, as most of the scenarios developed a similar stock as the BAU scenario. This was due to the fact that forest stocks are related to harvest intensities which are relatively similar according to the underlying economic assumptions. Only at the end of the simulation period a slightly higher harvest amount and, hence, lower forest stocks in terms of volume and biomass were simulated for the bioenergy scenario.

Harvest amounts developed throughout the simulation period consistently with the increasing forest increments. Over the simulation period the volume increment slightly increased from approximately 1100 106 m3 in 2010 to 1322 106 m3 in 2100 under the BAU scenario. The increment values or roughly 6.5 m³/ha/year were slightly higher than those published e.g. in Forest Europe (2011) but are still at a reasonable level. As far as indicated by net primary production the carbon sequestration has a comparable development compared to the annual increment with slight increases throughout the entire simulation period.

For the scenario runs which were merely driven by forest management decisions, the simulations showed larger differences in terms of volume and biomass, harvesting and annual increments. In addition, the simulated harvesting amounts were on average two to three times larger than the values obtained by the market driven scenarios. In those scenarios a considerably higher share of increment were simulated to be harvested, which holds also true for stocks of mature forest stands at the beginning of the simulation period. The harvested volumes are in principle available for contributing to the respective material and energy substitution effects.

The harvested volumes in the market driven scenario runs reflect the economically reasonable level at actual costs and predicted demands; demand for European wood demand and supply are balanced at market prize level. The forest management driven scenario runs incorporate the biological limits of sustainable forest management. The combination of both market and biologically driven approaches is a unique advantage of the FORMIT approach.

In the extreme scenario (called Unmanaged) no harvest or other forest management activities are present. Here two essential trends were observed. Firstly, a quite large forest carbon stock was aggregated throughout the simulation period. Compared to the market driven BAU scenario in the unmanaged scenario increase in carbon stocks was doubled. As no harvesting took place no contributing to climate change mitigation by the wood sector can be realized. Secondly, at least at begin of the simulation the higher living biomass in the forests led to an increased gross primary production (GPP), which is consistently larger than in the BAU_ECON scenario. Accordingly, in the beginning of the simulation the “Unmanaged” scenario shows a larger volume increment with an increasing difference within the following 25 years. Subsequently, as the forests are subject to ageing, new carbon is sequestered at a smaller per area rate and at around 2050 the declining sequestration rates approach those of the managed forests. Later on, the increment rates in the “Unmanaged” scenario drop below those of the market driven BAU with an increasing difference over time. As forests advance in age, their increment decreases and in spite of the higher biomass stocks growth rates decline.

In addition to the main management scenarios, several sub-scenarios were additionally simulated and analysed. In the “Constant Demand” scenario the extracted carbon remains constant during the simulation period which causes a marginally higher amount of carbon stored in forest biomass. The net primary production (NPP) and volume increment values are generally at a comparable level to those of the market driven BAU scenario. The analysis of the scenarios with Clearcut as final harvesting highlight the difference between harvesting determined by market demands and harvesting determined by merely considering the silvicultural and management potential. The large harvesting amounts in “Clearcut” scenarios cause a sharp decrease in the amount of carbon stocks at begin of the simulation period in 2010.

Climate change impacts and mitigation potential of forest management scenarios

The second objective was to analyse and present the impact of climate change on the mitigation potential of the European forests. The BAU scenario was simulated with four different levels of climate change, which extend from a climate scenario remaining constantly at the actual level to climate scenarios with increasing climate effects embedded in representative consentration pathway (RCP) 2.6 up to RCP 8.5. The climate impact was assessed by evaluating various quantitative indicators for forest ecosystems, such as above- and below-ground biomass, harvesting rate, extracted stem biomass, annual gross primary production (GPP), annual net primary production (NPP), annual volume increment and total forested area under an age of 41 years.

The above and below-ground living biomass stocks increase in Europe in all climate scenarios. However, the magnitude of the increase varies between regions. The lowest carbon stock increase was observed in the Northern European region while the highest increases were found in the Southern regions. Here, it must be underpinned that this observation is made on carbon stocks. Observations on volume increment and carbon sequestration deviate from this as presented below.

The volume increment at European level increased steadily in the first part of the simulation period for all the climate scenarios. After 2060 the increments became almost constant. When analyzed at the regional level, the influence of climate change became more evident and had divergent developments. The simulations clearly emphasized that warmer climate conditions increase forest growth mainly in Northern-Europe and Central Europe; a relatively moderate change of climate conditions would result in a general increase of annual increments in Europe. A more severe change, as described by the Climate85 scenario, led to higher increments in colder regions, whereas a dramatic reduction of annual increments is found for Southern Europe throughout the second half of the simulation period. The harvesting rate was not influenced by climate change. All climate scenarios were simulated with approximately 50% of the increments being harvested during the entire simulation period. The share of young stand was not affected by climate, decreasing slowly throughout the simulation.

Effects of adaptive management strategies

The third objective focused on the assessment of possible effects of adaptive forest management strategies on forest carbon stock changes, including new tree species and altered species mixtures. Here, the general approach utilized was the comparison of Climate Adaptation scenario with the business as usual (BAU) scenario. The Climate Adaptation scenario comprised two components: (i) a general reduction of the stem number and (ii) an additional admixture of new tree species. The impact of species admixture on volume increment and NPP was assessed by building the ratio of both variables related to the area of the new admixed and the old tree species groups (TSGs). Both, the market driven (named ECON) and forest management driven (FM) alternatives of the two scenarios were analysed.

The analysis showed that a reduction of the stem number leads to a slightly lower NPP and volume increment as compared to the BAU scenario. For entire Europe, NPP amounted to 5.3 t C/ha/year in 2010 and 6.3 t C/ha/year in 2100. In absolute terms, the predicted NPP for entire Europe amounted to 1.10 Gt C/year (ECON) and 0.93 Gt C/year (FM), in comparison with BAU 1.13 Gt C/year (ECON) and 1.02 Gt C/year (FM). The NPP increased in the first part of the simulation and then remained at this elevated level. However, by only applying a lower stem number, the observed differences between BAU and Climate Adaptation were rather small and negligible. Only in the FM scenarios, there were noticeable differences observed. The forest management-driven scenarios showed more fluctuation during the simulation period, higher harvest amounts and ~10 % lower NPP compared to the market-driven scenarios.

When both stem reduction and species admixtures were considered, the European NPP in 2100 increased by 2.8 % and volume increment decreased by 2.5 %. In absolute terms, in 2100 in Climate Adaptation the predicted NPP for entire Europe amounts 0.96 Gt C/year (ECON) and 0.97 Gt C/year (FM) – the initial value for 2010 being 0.93 Gt C/year. The difference of 0.03-0.04 Gt C/year, equals to an annual greenhouse gas emissions of ~23 to 30 million cars, or about 3-4 % of the anthropogenic CO2 emission in Europe. These values assumed that the new species have the same productivity as the old species.

When simulating the additional admixture with tree species groups that are half as productive as the old species the NPP decreases by 7 % in 2100 for entire Europe (0.07 Gt C/year, 12 % for FM scenario runs). Tree species that are two times more productive than the old species led to an increase of 15 % in NPP (0.14 Gt C/year, 23% for FM scenario runs). Similar relations were found for volume increment.

Consolidated scenario analysis of management strategies

The objective of this part was the comprehensive evaluation of the simulated scenarios integrating results from work packages (WPs) 2, 3 and 4. This analysis at continental and regional level describes the development of forest carbon stocks and sequestration rates, effects on ecosystem services, economic analysis and overall mitigation effects throughout the simulation period from 2010 to 2100. The analysis was composed of two parts, one in which three market driven scenarios (BAU, Biodiversity and Bioenergy) with complete data were examined and one in which all market driven and forest management driven scenarios were examined using harvest difference to that of the BAU scenario as an expression of possible lower or higher contribution to wood product effects.

The results of the simulations with respect to carbon content of aboveground living biomass indicated that the stocks are increasing during the entire simulation period in Europe for the three market driven scenarios. The initial value was 35 Gt CO2eq in 2010 and increased to around 67 Gt CO2eq in 2100 for BAU and Biodiversity scenarios and to 62.6 Gt CO2eq for Bioenergy. The harvesting regimes were closely linked with the definitions of the scenarios and had a direct impact on the volume increment. Bioenergy had the highest harvest, followed by BAU and then by Biodiversity. The same order was observed for volume increment. Due to the average age structure of the forests, the Bioenergy scenario induced the highest increment and therefore the highest carbon sequestration in tree biomass. Biodiversity had the lowest harvesting rate and as a result the lowest volume increment. In terms of aboveground deadwood biomass Biodiversity had the highest annual amount produced with around 3.4 m3/ha/year.

In addition to the carbon stock in aboveground biomass, the mitigation potential of the wood products sector significantly contributes to climate change mitigation by carbon storage in new wood products and material and energetic substitution effects. The life cycle assessments showed that in 2100 around 6.1 Gt CO2eq were sequestered in new wood products in Europe. WP3 also assessed the present level of carbon storage and its decay. The highest increase in new wood products happened in the first part of the simulation after which the stocks reached a level at which the carbon stored in new products was only replacing the carbon from decaying products. The carbon mitigation potential for the wood sector in 2100 sums from the carbon stored in new wood products (6.1 Gt CO2eq in 2100 for the BAU scenario) and the material and energetic substitution (15.5 Gt CO2eq in 2100 for BAU scenario). It must be emphasized that the substitution effects are permanently contributing to climate change mitigation while increase in stocks has a maximum being defined by the rates for building new stocks and stocks decay.

In addition to the climate change mitigation other beneficial effects are described by LCA: with respect to fossil fuel depletion, about 5% of the entire oil consumption in Europe could be saved by the usage of wood products (50 Mt of oil being saved only in 2100). The amount of water saved annually was more than 3 billion m3 of water.

The economic analysis included multiple aspects of the forest industries. In terms of gross sales the Bioenergy scenario produced the highest value of 156 billion € in 2100. However, the BAU scenario led to the highest employment (439 million man hours in 2100), followed by Bioenergy and Biodiversity leading to lowest employment (369 million man hours in 2100). The situation was similar in terms of net benefit to forest owners (measured as surplus before tax from sales of wood) with the highest net benefit to forest owners being simulated for BAU.

The total mitigation potential of European forests was calculated considering the carbon stored in aboveground living biomass, the carbon stored in wood products, the carbon emitted through forest management activities and the carbon avoided by the use of wood products through the substitution effects. It is increasing during the entire simulation period, from around 35 Gt CO2eq in 2010 to around 88.7 Gt CO2eq in 2100 for the BAU scenario (87.5 Gt CO2eq for the Biodiversity scenario and 82.9 Gt CO2eq for the Bioenergy scenario).

The second part of the analysis consisted of evaluating all the market driven and forest management driven scenarios based on the difference in harvesting compared with the BAU scenario. The assumption made here was that this difference in harvest could be interpreted as a change in amount of roundwood exported (positive values) or imported (negative values), as a change in net import/export. Market driven scenarios were narrowly distributed around the BAU harvest level, with a positive harvest difference and decrease in net import for Bioenergy (ECON) and vice versa for Biodiversity (ECON). In contrast, the forest management driven scenarios were much more differentiated. Most of these scenarios showed a clear positive difference in harvest amount, with only Biodiversity (FM) having a period with a negative harvest difference to BAU. The forest management driven scenarios describe the biological potential of European forests to contribute to climate change mitigation with harvest amounts at double level of those of the BAU (ECON) scenario. To foster the realization of this biological potential, additional policy means may have to be introduced.

Documentation of selected mitigation scenarios and the Representative Adaptation and Mitigation Pathways (RAMPs)

Representative Adaptation and Mitigation Pathways, RAMPs, describe the possible future development of European forests under various schemes of forest management being integrated in a segregation approach. The RAMPs were constructed in two phases. Firstly, three basic mitigation pathways were developed by the selection of best forest management options with respect to one of the three criteria: maximization of carbon stocks, carbon sequestration and wood production. The best scenarios that form the three mitigation pathways are presented in Table 1 (see Annex).

For all European regions, the best scenarios for the objective of climate change mitigation by storing carbon in the forest stocks were Biodiversity or Maximum Carbon Offset (MaxC). Both scenarios aim on high carbon content in forest biomass. The focus in Biodiversity is set on biodiversity and nature conservation. MaxC is focusing on the production of high quality wood realized by late harvesting silvicultural regimes, old forests on poor quality sites are not harvested at all. Both scenarios, hence, are expected to lead to relatively high forest stocks.

The best scenarios for the objective of high volume increment and carbon sequestration were for all regions Biodiversity and BAU. Considering the underlying principles of forest growth, the highest carbon sequestration rates per year have to be expected for scenarios with young productive stand due to shorter rotation periods and earlier final cuts e.g. Bioenergy but the length of the FORMIT simulation period from 2010 to 2100 led to a special situation: Short rotation silvicultural regimes led to a second final harvest before the end of the simulation period. Throughout the 10 to 20 years subsequent to final harvest in general no production of merchantable wood is observed. This effect contributes to the selection of scenarios which favor later final cuts and longer rotation periods due to the selection of the rather short simulation period length of less than hundred years compared to the production phases in forests and the actual age structure of the Central European forests.

The selected scenarios for the objective of high wood production were Bioenergy and for South East Europe, the scenario on Material Substitution (MatSubs_FM).. With respect to Bioenergy the underlying silvicultural regime harvests relatively young stands and, hence, for many forest units lead not only to one but in addition to a second final harvesting and regeneration. Here, South East Europe differs from the rest of Europe in the structure of tree species and age or generally of the forest units and, hence, the MatSubst scenario produces the highest amount of wood which aims on the harvesting of high quality and high dimension sawn wood.

A segregation approach was used to combine the selected best scenarios of the mitigation pathways to three RAMPs. The RAMPs were constructed as linear combinations of the three mitigation pathways together with a share of unmanaged forest area. All shares of area add up to 100% as specified in Table 2 (see annex).

The best scenarios for the objective of climate change mitigation by storing carbon in the forest stocks are for all regions Biodiv and MaxC. Both scenarios aim on high carbon content in forest biomass. The focus in Biodiv is set on biodiversity and nature conservation. MaxC is focusing on the production of high quality wood driven by late harvesting silvicultural regimes, old forests on poor quality sites are not harvested at all. Both scenarios, hence, are expected to lead to relatively high forest stocks

For all RAMPs the resulting volume of harvested merchantable wood is much higher (5-6 m³/ha for RAMP Production) than that simulated for BAU (3-4 m³/ha). In spite of this, the average volume increment is higher than the average harvest amounts for all RAMPs during the period 2010 to 2100. The selected RAMPs can be considered sustainable and contributing to increased climate change mitigation, describing alternative approaches of a forest management segregation model for European forests.

Potential Impact:
The ongoing discussion on national and international climate protection plans underlines the need for information on the impact of forest degradation and deforestation on the one hand and the potential of forests to contribute to climate change mitigation on the other hand. The EU Forest Strategy (2013) emphasizes the important role of European forests in their contribution to climate change mitigation with respect to carbon balance and the provision of wood to the forestry related sector discussing the increasing pressure on forests in fulfilling competing forest functions.

The main objective of the FORMIT project was to develop forest management scenarios for carbon sequestration in Europe, including mitigation measures and management strategies for different regions, and accounting for trade-offs with other forest functions. This objective was fulfilled by simulating forests’ development under scenarios on business as usual (BAU), biodiversity protection and nature conservation (Biodiversity) and maximum contribution to bioenergy (Bioenergy) under the application of respective defined forest management scenarios and the actual economic conditions. Those market scenarios revealed the amount of harvested wood in balance with the demand for harvested wood presuming actual costs. Due to the application of actual wood demand and costs the simulation results are varying only on limited level. The WP5 integrated evaluation of impacts on the economic functions (WP4) and environmental and carbon balance functions (WP2 and WP3) clearly indicate that under BAU scenario the highest values for employment, carbon storage in forests and economic benefit to forest owners were simulated. The Biodiversity setting led e.g. to an increase in amount of dead wood in the forests on the one hand but to slightly increased cuttings for compensation of this benefit with respect to the market for harvested wood on the other hand. The application of the Bioenergy settings lead to a slight increase in amount of harvested wood provided to and consumed in the forestry related sector. The socio economic and climate mitigation impacts from the forestry related sector vary on low level only, as the consumption of harvested wood was balanced by respective net imports and exports to the European countries. The quantification of harvested wood amounts and their possible impact on net import or export of European regions allows for an assessment of possible contributions of European forests to the benefits being realized in the forestry related sector based on the entire consumption of harvested wood. The possible negative impact of net imports to climate mitigation outside of Europe has been discussed in FORMIT deliverable D4.4.

In addition to the market driven scenario analysis, a second one could be done by WP5 on scenarios which were driven merely by forest management. WP2 simulated all FORMIT scenarios and additional side variations on the impact of forest management and climate change following merely the forest management definitions without recognizing the demand on harvested wood products. All forest management decisions followed merely the respective scenario definitions and led to increased amounts of harvested wood increasing the potential contribution to the positive effects of the forestry related sector with respect to climate change mitigation and environmental and socio economic impact, e.g. global warming potential (GWP), water consumption or employment. However, policy measures have to be for making use of the full potential of the forest and forestry related sector. Our analyses contributed to the understanding of the complexity of forest management decisions and their impact in forestry and the forestry related sector.

Our results suggest an average annual forest productivity for the period 2000 to 2012 of 577 gC m-2 year-1. This implies a biomass production of about 1.2 kg per square meter and year, with about 40% allocated into the woody biomass. In some regions the local conditions allow higher production rates such as France (666 gC m-2 year-1 ) or Italy (657 gC m-2 year-1) that exceed the European average. Such information is important to assess the available resources for a bio-based economy. We quantify the European forest resources with unprecedented detail by allowing any spatial resolution by providing pan-European continuous maps of forest characteristics such as carbon stocks and growing stocks, but also tree age, stem number or diameter distribution. With this information we can perform quality controls of existing reporting systems such as FAO reporting. The results show a tendency of volume stocks to increase in the future because the demand of roundwood is lower than forest growth, leading to forest aging. Even under unlimited demand, the current forest management rules generally do not allow for a long-term decline in the stocks if natural disturbances are kept in check. Management has a greater impact on growing stocks, harvest potential and carbon balance than projected climate change unless disturbance rates increase considerably due to extreme events. The results gathered should largely contribute to the ongoing discussion on climate change mitigation potentials and environmental impact categories. The FORMIT results can and should be considered when the strategic documents regarding the wood sector are drawn within the European Commission framework.

Specific combinations and variations of silvicultural regimes were used to define the forest management in order to fulfil specific objectives. The FORMIT scenarios aim at the production of a maximum of bioenergy wood (Bioene), the production of a maximum of wood for material substitution purposes (MaxSubst), the protection of biodiversity and the enhancement of nature conservation (Biodiv), the adaptation of European forests to expected climate change (ClimateAdaptation) and the realization of a maximum carbon offset (MaxC) combining maximum production on productive forest area with increase of carbon stocks on less productive forest area. All those mono-directional forest management scenarios are compared to the business as usual scenario (BAU) which describes the present forest management being actually applied. All scenarios were simulated realizing silvicultural regimes for the forest management scenarios. Deviating from those forest management driven scenario runs, a subset of three scenarios (BAU, Biodiv and Bioene) were also run with harvest operations simulated according to the market demand. Those economy driven scenario runs were basis for further economic and LCA analyses.

Based on the simulation results for the FORMIT scenarios best solutions were selected for three possible paths for European forests’ potential contribution to climate change mitigation by increasing carbon stocks in the forest, by enhancing volume increment and carbon sequestration or by enhancing the production of wood. Those three sets of selected scenarios in combination with a simulation on unmanaged forests were used to build three segregation models of forest management, the Representative Adaptation and Mitigation Pathways, the FORMT RAMPs.

The definition of the FORMIT RAMPs was done by specifying a share of forest area which is addressed to each of the mitigation paths and to the possibility of remaining unmanaged. The outcome of the RAMPs is presented together with that of the business as usual scenario. This allows for a very rough comparison with market driven systems and with the results from LCA and economic analyses, respectively. A full transfer of those results to the forest management driven RAMPs is not possible as the deviating harvesting amounts would lead to deviating prices and contributions to the market and processes of the wood sector. However, at least it can be summarized that enhanced wood production allows for a reduction of raw wood net import or to increase the net export and, hence, would allow for increasing the share of benefits of the wood sector which is originated from European forests.

Only a subset of quantitative output variables was depicted in this report. Direct impacts of forest management are only expressed by quantitative variables of the forest sector so far. The potential of European forests to contribute to climate change mitigation of the wood sector, however, is much higher than being realized nowadays. The FORMIT RAMPs allow for a specification and quantification of the ways and potential of this contribution.

In a context where the climate change mitigation potential is a hot topic in policy development by EU DG Climate, Environment, Agriculture, and awareness of its possible interactions with other environmental impact categories is being raised, the knowledge gathered here largely contributes to the state of art.

The FORMIT project quantified the potential of climate change mitigation on regional and European wide scale safeguarding other forest functions. The outcome of the project and of WP5 scenario analyses has been described in the respective project deliverables. The overall documentation of results will be a synthesis volume to be published after the end of the project. Scientific publications from all work packages both on methods and specific results, and on the overall scenario analyses results will be published in reviewed journals. In addition to this, the results of the FORMIT project have been presented and made available via our internet page. Furthermore, the participation in public conferences and the presentation of the FORMIT results was done open meetings such as the IUFRO2017 congress that took place in Sept. 2017 in Freiburg. Our contribution to respective programmes and conferences in partner countries and the partner’s close cooperation with national forest management stakeholders ensures dissemination and incorporation of the FORMIT findings to the ongoing discussion on national, regional and local climate protection plans.

List of Websites:
http://www.eu-formit.eu

Prof. dr. ir. G.M.J. Mohren
EU-FORMIT coordinator
Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Wageningen University and Research
P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen
The Netherlands