Carbon stocks and pools

The five main carbon pools in forests are aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, deadwood, litter, and soil.

Changes in forest carbon stocks 1990-2020, M tonnes per year

 

Carbon pools forest in 2020, % of all pools

 

The role of forests for climate change mitigation

Forests play a vital role in regulating levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Forests accumulate and store large amounts of carbon in the trees and in the soil as they remove CO2 from the atmosphere but also emit greenhouse gases by harvest, decay, or disturbances.

Forests act as a carbon sink, when the uptake, or removal of carbon from the atmosphere, exceeds the amount of carbon released. Forests are considered sources when they emit more than they remove.

TOTAL EMISSIONS CO2-eq IN EU27 IN 2019

TOTAL EMISSIONS CO2-eq IN 2019

442.98 Mt CO2 equivalent emissions in 2019

TOTAL FOREST CARBON STOCK IN EU27 IN 2020

CARBON STORED IN ABOVE-GROUND BIOMASS OF FORESTS IN 2020

1565 Mt C stored in above-ground biomass of forests in 2020 (living biomass and litter)

CO2-eq FOREST SINK IN 2019

50.76 Mt CO2 equivalent sink in forest in 2019

LULUCF and emissions reporting

Countries annually report their emissions and removals in the national GHG inventories, including the LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry) sector.

Total greenhouse gas emissions 1990-2019, M tonnes CO2-eq per year

 

LULUCF greenhouse gas emissions (+) and removals (-) since 1990, M tonnes CO2-eq per year

Historically, the LULUCF sector is a net sink with increase over time. The LULUCF historical trend of EU27 is a net sink.

 

Emissions and removals of CO2-eq from forest land since 1990, M tonnes CO2-eq per year

Forests take up around 11% of the total country emissions.

 

Harvested wood products

Harvested wood products provide benefits to mitigate climate change impacts. Wood products store carbon for a long time. The use of wood products may substitute the use of more fossil energy-intensive materials such as steel and concrete.

Emissions and removals of CO2-eq from harvested wood products since 1990, M tonnes CO2-eq per year

Harvested wood products are a CO2 sink.