Policy pathways towards EU climate neutrality

Roadmap for EU forest sector contribution to carbon, biodiversity, and green economy goals

Mapping status and changes in EU forests

Near real-time monitoring of forests, carbon and biodiversity

Unlocking the EU forest potential to counteract climate change

Comprehensive assessment of forest-based mitigation and adaptation potentials

New Policy Modelling Toolbox for forest bioeconomy

Providing policy makers with efficient decision-making tools for climate action

All together at one table

Policy Makers, Researchers and Practitioners

ForestNavigator

Navigating European forests and forest bioeconomy sustainably to EU climate neutrality

EU forests play a central role for achieving the EU climate neutrality goal: they cover 44% of the region’s land and absorb nearly 10% of its greenhouse gas emissions each year. This contribution is expected to grow in the future. However, due to increased demand for wood, more natural disturbances and forests reaching maturity, the rate of carbon removals from European forests has been declining in the past decade.

The ForestNavigator project assesses the climate mitigation potential of forests and forest-based sectors by modelling robust policy pathways, aligned with medium (2030) and long-term (2050) climate goals, and supporting EU and national decision makers. ForestNavigator applies integrated approaches combining observational data, policy expertise, and a range of advanced modelling tools to develop a Policy Modelling Toolbox, capable of addressing climate change impacts on coupled ecological and socioeconomic systems. The Toolbox relies on a near-real time monitoring of forests, carbon and biodiversity, and provides policy makers with efficient decision-making tools for climate action. With a primarily European scope, ForestNavigator zooms into carefully selected EU Member States to enhance the consistency of the EU and national pathways, and zooms out towards the global scale, for extra-EU future drivers and potential leakage effects.

 

ForestNavigator

24

Consortium
partners

ForestNavigator

14

European/Non-European
countries

ForestNavigator

48

Month
project duration

ForestNavigator

44%

EU Forest
coverage
ForestNavigator

~ 10%

Emissions per year
absorbed by forests

News

ForestNavigator Main Concept

ForestNavigator researchers inform EC´s 2040 target of 90% greenhouse gas reduction

The EU has just released an impact assessment on pathways to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, to which ForestNavigator researchers contributed by modelling.

Historical trends and drivers of the laterally transported terrestrial dissolved organic carbon to river systems

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) represents a critical component of terrestrial carbon (C) cycling and is a key contributor to the carbon flux between land and aquatic systems. Historically, the quantification of environmental factors influencing DOC leaching has been underexplored, with a predominant focus on land use changes as the main driver. In this study, the process-based terrestrial ecosystem model JULES-DOCM was utilized to simulate the spatiotemporal patterns of DOC leaching into the global river network from 1860 to 2010. This study reveals a 17 % increment in DOC leaching to rivers, reaching 292 Tg C yr−1 by 2010, with atmospheric CO2 fertilization identified as the primary controlling factor, significantly enhancing DOC production and leaching following increased vegetation productivity and soil carbon stocks. To specifically quantify the contribution of CO2 fertilization, a factorial simulation approach was employed that isolated the effects of CO2 from other potential drivers of change.

The research highlights distinct regional responses. While globally CO2 fertilization is the dominant factor, in boreal regions, climate change markedly influences DOC dynamics, at times exceeding the impact of CO2. Temperate and sub-tropical areas exhibit similar trends in DOC leaching, largely controlled by CO2 fertilization, while climate change showed an indirect effect through modifications in runoff patterns. In contrast, the tropics show a relatively low increase in DOC leaching, which can be related to alterations in soil moisture and temperature.

Additionally, the study re-evaluates the role of land use change in DOC leaching, finding its effect to be considerably smaller than previously assumed. These insights emphasize the dominant roles of CO2 fertilization and climate change in modulating DOC leaching, thereby refining our understanding of terrestrial carbon dynamics and their broader implications on the global C budget.

Forest carbon stock development following extreme drought-induced dieback of coniferous stands in Central Europe: a CBM-CFS3 model application

We analyze the forest carbon stock development following the recent historically unprecedented dieback of coniferous stands in the Czech Republic. The drought-induced bark-beetle infestation resulted in record-high sanitary logging and total harvest more than doubled from the previous period. It turned Czech forestry from a long-term carbon sink offsetting about 6% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 to a significant source of CO2 emissions in recent years (2018–2021). In 2020, the forestry sector contributed nearly 10% to the country’s overall GHG emissions. Using the nationally calibrated Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) at a regional (NUTS3) spatial resolution, we analyzed four scenarios of forest carbon stock development until 2070. Two critical points arise: the short-term prognosis for reducing current emissions from forestry and the implementation of adaptive forest management focused on tree species change and sustained carbon accumulation.

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Fulvio di Fulvio

Fulvio Di Fulvio, PhD

IIASA

(ForestNavigator Co-Principal Investigator)

“ForestNavigator develops the next generation Policy Modelling Toolbox to address the gap between the needs of decision makers and the capacity of current large-scale models supporting their policies.”
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Andrey Lessa Derci Augustynczik

Andrey Lessa Derci Augustynczik

IIASA

(Scientific coordinator)

“Our approach combines forest data with multi scale biophysical modelling. This will help us to quantify pathways for the EU forest sector, which consider not only alternative carbon sequestration in the forest and wood products, but also synergies with other policy goals.”
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Petr Havlík

Petr Havlík, PhD

IIASA

(ForestNavigator Co-Principal Investigator)

“ForestNavigator will provide the EU and national policy makers with a unique decision-making platform enabling continuous dialogue between policy makers and scientists to support the contribution of sustainable forests to the ambitious EU climate action, also beyond the project’s lifetime.”
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