IBFRA insight process

Sustainable boreal forest management – challenges and opportunities for climate change mitigation

© Jarmo Piironen | Dreamstime

© Jarmo Piironen | Dreamstime

Introduction

The IBFRA insight process aims to strengthen cooperation between boreal countries. It will address climate change impacts, role of forests in mitigating climate change and the ways in which the forest sector can contribute to net negative emissions with the ambition to be an IPCC-like assessment of scientific consensus on selected topics.

Overview

The circumboreal forest is a vast region with considerable diversity in forest ecosystem types, drivers of carbon dynamics, vulnerability to climate change, and types and intensity of forest management. The impacts of global environmental changes are already affecting the boreal forest. At present, large scientific uncertainties remain about the magnitude and direction of the future contribution of boreal forests to the global greenhouse gas balance. This uncertainty has major policy implications for the level of mitigation efforts that will be required in other sectors, if future atmospheric CO2 concentration targets are to be achieved.

Many opportunities exist to enhance the contribution of the boreal forest to domestic greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, largely through enhancement of forest productivity and reducing natural disturbances, using wood products to store carbon, and by substituting harvested wood products for fossil-based products, steel and concrete to reduce emissions in other sectors. The most appropriate mitigation actions will depend on the current forest conditions, climate change impacts, and the socio-economic and institutional context for mitigation actions.

Therefore, mitigation strategies need to be regionally-differentiated portfolios of activities designed to meet carbon and other forest management objectives. Impacts of climate change on the forests need to be considered so that mitigation actions can be designed to also yield benefits for enhancement of forest resilience to climate change impacts and for other adaptation objectives. 

The IBFRA insight process originates from the circumboreal ministerial meeting in June 2018 where the ministers adopted the Haparanda declaration with a view to strengthen cooperation between boreal countries. It will address climate change impacts, role of forests in mitigating climate change and the ways in which the forest sector can contribute to net negative emissions with the ambition to be an IPCC-like assessment of scientific consensus on selected topics.

The IBFRA insight process should be transparent and balanced and result in a scientifically-credible document, not to be a “promotional” or advocacy paper, but a scientific assessment of the potential of the boreal forest to contribute to climate change mitigation. The overall goal is thus to present a study endorsed by an international team of experts from six boreal countries, peer-reviewed, and based on science and analyses. 

Partners

The Future Forests platform at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences will take the lead of this insight process. Together with a committee of members appointed by the board of IBFRA the Future Forest platform will share responsibility to find representative experts from the boreal countries and ensure transparency in the process. The Swedish Forest Agency and the Future Forest platform will finance the process within the framework of their missions from the Swedish government.


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Last edited: 26 November 2019

CONTACT DETAILS

Florian Kraxner

CLR Center Head and Deputy Program Director

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 233

Timeframe

01.09.2018 - 01.12.2019

More information

IBFRA Insight Process: Sustainable boreal forest management – challenges and opportunities for climate change mitigation

PUBLICATIONS

Steidinger B S, Crowther T W, Liang J, Van Nuland M E, Werner G D A, Reich P B, Nabuurs G, de-Miguel S, et al. (2019). Climatic controls of decomposition drive the global biogeography of forest-tree symbioses. Nature 569 (7756): 404-408. DOI:10.1038/s41586-019-1128-0.

Kraxner F, Schepaschenko D , Fuss S, Lunnan A, Kindermann G , Aoki K, Dürauer M, Shvidenko A, et al. (2017). Mapping certified forests for sustainable management - A global tool for information improvement through participatory and collaborative mapping. Forest Policy and Economics 83: 10-18. DOI:10.1016/j.forpol.2017.04.014.

Lappalainen HK, Kerminen V-M, Petäjä T, Kurten T, Baklanov A, Shvidenko A, Bäck J, Vihma T, et al. (2016). Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX): Towards holistic understanding of the feedbacks and interactions in the land-atmosphere-ocean-society continuum in the Northern Eurasian region. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions 16: 14421-14461. DOI:10.5194/acp-2016-186.

Gauthier S, Bernier P, Kuuluvainen T, Shvidenko AZ, & Schepaschenko DG (2015). Boreal forest health and global change. Science 349 (6250): 819-822. DOI:10.1126/science.aaa9092.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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