Forests and climate change

How has climate change affected EU forests and what might happen next?

Climate change is ongoing, and global temperatures are now more than one degree above pre-industrial levels. As well as the warming trend, extreme weather events and other disturbances have been amplified, often connected to climate change.

How has the forest-based carbon sink and stock evolved in the European Union?

Contrary to the still ongoing deforestation at global level (FAO, 2020), forest area and growing stock in the EU 27 (EU in the following) have expanded continuously since the 1950s (Mauser, 2022) and impacted on the carbon sequestration and storage dynamics of forests.

To manage or not to manage – how can we support forests to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts?

Forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle that can help to mitigate climate change via three pathways.

How can forests and wood use help meet climate goals?

Forests and forestry play a key role in policy targets to achieve climate neutrality. For example, forests and wood products in the European Union (EU) remove approximately 380 MtCO2 eq/year (compensating about 10% of total annual EU greenhouse gas emissions). 

How can a forest-based bioeconomy support biodiversity and climate neutrality?

Forests and forestry play a key role in climate change mitigation. Reducing deforestation and forest degradation lowers greenhouse gas emissions and forest management and afforestation can maintain or enhance forest carbon stocks and sinks. In addition, wood products can store carbon over long time periods and wood products can substitute for emissions-intensive materials.

Published on 21.11.2022