What Is the Future of European Forests Confronted with Climate Change and the Carbon Neutrality Objective?

André-Jean Guérina,and Felix Lallemand publish an article in the Revue Forestière, on the future ofthe Europen Forest and the wood industry . Their work was carried out at The Shift Project, to elaborate the 8th proposition (Strengthening Forest Economy) of the Decarbonize Europe Manifesto published in March 2017.

What Is the Future of European Forests Confronted with Climate Change and the Carbon Neutrality Objective?

Abstract: Forests take up a central position in the issue of climate change. Indeed, they offset part of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions every year, while products of the forestry and forest-based industry can be used as substitutes for materials and fossil fuels that produce significant amounts of GHG emissions. But as a result of climate change, forests and their services are themselves also vulnerable.

In this article, authors describe the proposal published by The Shift Project association to revitalise the forestry and forest-based industry in the European Union (EU) with the aim of reducing its GHG emissions. Having recalled the role played by European forests in carbon sequestration and provided an overview of the timber industry in the EU, the authors suggest that substitution of high-emission construction materials (concrete, steel, aluminium, etc.) by wood products should be doubled by 2050.

They then consider actions that should be undertaken so as to achieve that objective: increase in production of wood, redirecting flows and structuring of the industry. The implementation of this programme would enable the EU to reduce its emissions by at least 100 million tonnes of CO2 in 2050 while also benefitting from other economic, social and environmental advantages.

Quel avenir pour la forêt européenne face au changement climatique et à l'objectif de neutralité carbone

The authors both played a decisive role in the publication of the Shift’s Decarbonize Europe Manifesto

  • André-Jean Guérin is a General Engineer of Bridges, Waters and Forests and a corresponding member of the Academy of Agriculture of France, he participated in piloting the work on the Decarbonize Europe Manifesto before becoming administrator of the Shift in 2016.
  • Félix Lallemand is a Ph.D student in ecology at the National Museum of Natural History ans is aggregated of Sciences of Life and Earth from the Sorbonne Universities. He provides the secretariat of the Shift’s Experts Committee.