Mitigation of climate change impacts
Climate change is one of the most complex issues that is facing us today. It is felt at all scales, local to global, and will be around for decades and centuries to come.
The emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are recognised to contribute to almost all anthropogenic climate warming. Carbon dioxide is the most prominent greenhouse gas that traps solar heat and warms the global climate.
How do forests relate to adaptation?
Forests have an innate ability to regenerate and adapt to damages, disturbances and weather impacts.
Adaptation is the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects. In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. In some natural systems, human intervention may facilitate adjustment to expected climate and its effects (see the Climate-Adapt platform on adapting to climate change).
Examples of such opportunities are described in great detail under Afforestation and reforestation as adaptation opportunity.
However, climate change magnifies these pressures (see Vitality) by causing more frequent insect outbreaks and more frequent droughts and storms. Land-use change and fragmentation impede the connectivity of European forests, also hindering natural processes of forest adaptation. This has huge economic consequences but also affects air quality, water quality, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Forest emissions and removals
Europe's forests are an essential carbon stock. EU forests take up currently around 8% of the total EU emissions if we don't include HWP and 9% if we include HWP.
*Including LULUCF and aviation
** Not including harvested wood products
Below you find relevant links to EEA and other Information resources relevant for Forests and climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation:
- Future hazards affecting Europe. A story map. Relevant aspects for forests are droughts, floods and fires
- National emissions reported to the UNFCCC and to the EU Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Mechanism
- Copernicus Land Monitoring Service - helping to mitigate forest storm damage