Forests are vital to achieving the EU’s goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and becoming climate neutral by 2050. Forests and their products serve as carbon sinks, removing approximately 10% of the total EU greenhouse gas emissions. With the EU calling for effective climate mitigation measures from all sectors, we need to maximise the key role of forests towards climate neutrality.
The ForestPaths project – Co-designing holistic forest-based policy pathways for climate change mitigation – which started in September 2022, will optimise forests’ climate change mitigation potential by providing forest-based policy pathways, whilst also conserving their biodiversity and ecosystem services. The project consortium is composed of 16 partner organisations from 9 countries and is coordinated by the European Forest Institute.
ForestPaths will engage with a variety of stakeholders over the course of the four-and-a-half-year project. It will work with practitioners to determine climate- and biodiversity-smart forest management options, investigating how these could be taken up by forest owners and managers across Europe. Building on these options, the project will collaborate with policymakers and key representatives from regional and national European authorities through a series of Policy Labs, during which it will co-design policy pathways for meeting climate change mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity goals. These pathways will then be analysed with next-generation integrated assessment techniques, incorporating information from remote sensing and covering forest ecosystems, wood products, and energy, while also accounting for climate-related risks, biogeochemical responses to environmental change and human behaviour. Lastly, ForestPaths will apply this framework for an all-round assessment of the climate mitigation potential of European forests and the forest-based sector.
The knowledge generated within ForestPaths will be incorporated into an interactive policy support platform, CANOPY, tailored for use by national and regional European authorities. It will feature a policy analysis tool, showcasing the implications of different policy pathways, while also displaying supporting materials such as interactive scenario maps, videos, infographics, policy briefs, and reports. CANOPY’s mission is to become the go-to place for easily accessible assessment results and policy recommendations.
The project launched its activities with a Kick-off meeting in Rotterdam on the 12 and 13 September 2022.