Forests and climate change
|The EU Forestry Strategy
identifies that the role of forests as carbon sinks and
reservoirs can be "best ensured through sustainable
forest management" (Article 13). The document also
states that EU and Member States' contribution to the
climate change strategies can be best achieved "through
the protection and enhancement of existing carbon
stocks, the establishment of new carbon stocks and
encouragement of the use of biomass and wood-based
products" (Article 13).
Forests can help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Plants absorb CO2 through photosynthesis and use
captured carbon to build organic matter. The storage of
organic carbon in soils and above-ground biomass offers
considerable potential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Significant amounts of carbon can also be built up and
stored through afforestation of farmland, agro-forestry
systems, and use of carbon-conscious forest management
EU forests are also affected by changing climatic
conditions. Global warming is likely to intensify the risk
of forest fires and pest outbreaks. In the longer term it
will influence the kind of tree species that will grow and
timber production capacity as well as biodiversity, though
the impacts will vary regionally. Extreme weather events,
such as high winds, storms, and prolonged heat waves, floods
and droughts will also affect the EU's forests. Heavy storms
have already caused severe damage to forests in recent years
and are becoming more frequent. Over time, climate change
might jeopardise the capacity of EU forests to perform
economic, social and ecological functions.
"Other relevant areas of