The European Union set itself a legal target of climate neutrality by 2050, with an intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Towards these ambitious targets (Fit for 55), it is proposed that Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forests (LULUCF) should deliver a sink to compensate for residual emissions in the other sectors.

Considering that the rate of carbon removal in European forests is declining due to an increase in wood demands, natural disturbances, and shares of forests reaching maturity, it is essential to promote actions to sustain and enhance carbon sink. A timely assessment of the EU forest policy pathways needs therefore to consider explicitly the adaptation-mitigation nexus and address the threat posed by climate change and natural disturbances to the permanence of carbon stocks.

Concretely, this means that synergies and trade-offs between storing carbon in the forests versus in harvested wood products and the related substitution effects need to be explicitly analysed. Additionally, this assessment needs to carefully consider potential impacts on biodiversity (in line with the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy), but also other key ecosystem services and socio-economic impacts of various forest management practices.

Purpose of the project

ForestNavigator will quantitatively assess the potential, scope, effectiveness and impacts of potential forest-based mitigation pathways. It will provide a comprehensive and consistent assessment of the environmental and socioeconomic benefits and trade-offs in achieving policy challenges such as the medium (2030) and long-term EU climate goals (climate neutrality by 2050).

Role of Climate Analytics

In a consortium of 24 partner institutions from the EU and China, our first responsibility is to lead the development of the ForestNavigator Portal: a web-based portal supporting decision making related to forest management by EU Member States and Associated countries by providing them with appropriate tools, models, databases and country- and region-specific adaptation and mitigation options.

This also includes two open-access online tools that will 1) visualise the status of EU forests (their health, composition, carbon stock, etc.) at high-resolution and in near-real time and 2) illustrate what would be the consequences of various forest policy pathways by the EU Member States in terms of carbon sequestration, impact on biodiversity and jobs creation, among other impacts identified in the project. These tools should act as a user-friendly dissemination and capacity-building tool for anyone to understand the time dynamics, uncertainties and boundaries of the analyses conducted in the project.

Additionally, Climate Analytics facilitates the stakeholder dialogue and manages the outreach of project activities and results. Through stakeholder workshops and consistent iterative engagement activities, stakeholders will have a central role in guiding research questions by providing input on their preferences for forest management options, forest-based markets and policy goals.