- Slides: 34
Dr Pat Snowdon Economics & Climate Change, UK Forestry Commission Presentation to European Forestry Commission, 27 April 2010
This presentation… • Aim explain how the Forestry Commission in the UK commissioned an assessment of the role of UK forests in tackling climate change • Structure the process key findings
Why do this? • IPCC 4 th Assessment Report, 2007 – brought together existing science & understanding “forestry can make a very significant contribution to a low-cost global mitigation portfolio…” We needed a similarly authoritative statement of current scientific understanding across the UK
How can UK forestry adapt to and improve its contribution to mitigating climate change? Sir David Read was asked to: • Review and synthesise existing knowledge of the impacts of climate change on UK forests. • Provide a baseline of the potential of UK forests to mitigate and adapt to climate change. • Identify gaps and weaknesses in our understanding so as to determine research priorities for the next 5 years.
The process Summer 2008 • • • facilitated by the FC independent steering group established authors invited (c 30 in total) reviewed by international experts editorial group publication and launch November 2009
The authors • Editor and Chair – Professor Sir David Read, University of Sheffield & Fellow of the Royal Society • Experts from universities, research institutes and Government departments and agencies • Multi-disciplinary approach
Finalising the report • Editorial group meetings • Consultation with authors over editing • Independent of the Forestry Commission - Sir David had editorial control • Focus on scientific rigour
Who will use it & for what?
UK will continue to warm in all scenarios
But we’ve been creating fewer new woodlands
Can we harness this C-fixing capability to provide mitigation of emissions?
Oak – suitability relative to maximum productivity (greens = suitable) Changes will impact on species choice and composition in native woodlands
Substitution – carbon lock up after felling Biomass – replacing fossil fuels Different objectives and strategies : all +ve
Wood products extend carbon lock up Wood products in construction are CO 2 sinks. Bricks, concrete, steel are net sources.
Maximum surface temperature in Manchester +10% green cover would help cooling esp where people live or gather
Carbon in UK woodlands (trees only)
A clear need for more woodlands Enhanced planting of 23, 000 ha per year over next 40 years could by 2050 abate 10% of GHG emissions • Technically feasible – if challenging • All options cost-effective • Rapid growing conifers and energy crops best • But mixed woodlands still only £ 25 per tonne CO 2
Forest land cover in parts of Europe +4% change in land cover proposed would still be one of lowest in Europe
An asset to be managed wisely UK forests store 790 Mt. C and remove 15 Mt. CO 2 per year • Climate change impacts are already being seen • Pests and diseases causing increasing concern • Regulatory framework important including for urban trees to ensure continued delivery of range of ecosystem services
The status quo is not an option Long timescales mean need for action now • Changes to selection of species and origin needed now • In future need to consider new species e. g. from continental Europe • Difficult questions for conservation of biodiversity in woodland communities
Harvesting and use of wood increases forestry’s mitigation potential Wood products act as store Biomass can replace fossil fuels • Wood can substitute for materials with high GHG emissions in their production • Evidence of technical properties of wood needs to be better known • Carbon in wood products in UK housing = 19 Mt. C – could grow by 10 Mt in next 10 years
Trees help people adapt Trees in urban areas provide shelter shade and runoff control • increased tree cover in towns where people live and gather, esp vulnerable groups • forestry practitioners need to engage with the public • policy incentives should reward non-market benefits of forests
Plant now Use sustainably
response to the Assessment • • research priorities ongoing analysis standards incentives – GHG reporting guidelines – funding mechanisms
Thank you www. forestry. gov. uk/climatechange www. tsoshop. co. uk
Net ecosystem carbon exchange Trees and forest soils lock up carbon
Impacts on abatement potential compared to BAU
Rainfall amounts and distribution will change
Oak is coming into leaf earlier
Uptake of greenhouse gases is projected to fall