Mobilizing and Monitoring Climate Positive Efforts in Forests and Forestry

Forest potential in the climate policy framework remains underutilized and significantly under-mobilized. Questions about the relative uncertainty surrounding the assessment of carbon content in soils and trees have been one problem. The introduction of strategies for encouraging climate friendly efforts on the part of landowners and other users of wood-based products represents another side of the problem. And finally, how forest carbon is accounted, and thus incentivised or not, in national, regional and international frameworks, represents a third problem. We address each of these at depth. We analyze national level strategies emerging in the context of the 2015 Paris Agreement and how these incentivise the role of forests and forest-based resources in the climate policy framework. Further, we analyze national level incentive systems for encouraging carbon friendly actions on the part of forest owners and consumers of harvested wood products. With this knowledge in hand, we consider new technologies and methods for the more accurate estimation of soil and tree carbon, from the national all the way down to the landowner level. Likewise, we investigate potential mitigation scenarios at the national and local level in three case studies (Netherlands, Romania and Sweden), analyzing response curves to economic and policy incentives. Finally, we analyze how international and regional climate change mitigation strategies can be better linked to subnational incentive systems. The goal is to promote methodologies that will provide a more accurate accounting of forest carbon, and permit the greater mobilization of forests and forest-based resources in national, regional and international climate policy frameworks.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Prof. Erik Næsset

Project partners
Wageningen University, The Netherlands
U.S. Forest Service, United States of America
SLU, Sweden
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland
Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engeneering, Romania

Total requested funding
1,123,000 €

Project duration
32 months

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In FORCLIMIT, we develop new methods for accurate estimation of soil and tree carbon in forests, from the national to property level. We improve the modeling of soil carbon, e.g. by conducting field experiments of decomposition rates of litterfall to fill data gaps, and developed methods for local estimation for forest management units. The improved soil carbon modeling serves as input to a monitoring, verification and reporting (MRV) system, which is an essential part of carbon mitigation strategies. Using bi-temporal data collected with high spatial detail over large areas using airborne laser scanning, we detect changes in the forest that can be associated with mitigation actions. We demonstrate that carbon changes can be estimated over a 15-year period at forest stand, property, and landscape levels, with consistency in estimates across geographical levels and with associated uncertainties. The MRV system constitutes a monitoring tool for climate-smart forestry at local level.