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Selected Publication:

Erb, KH; Haberl, H; Le Noe, J; Tappeiner, U; Tasser, E; Gingrich, S.
(2022): Changes in perspective needed to forge 'no-regret' forest-based climate change mitigation strategies
GCB BIOENERGY. 2022; 14(3): 246-257. FullText FullText_BOKU

Abstract:
Forest-based mitigation strategies will play a pivotal role in achieving the rapid and deep net-emission reductions required to prevent catastrophic climate change. However, large disagreement prevails on how to forge forest-based mitigation strategies, in particular in regions where forests are currently growing in area and carbon density. Two opposing viewpoints prevail in the current discourse: (1) A widespread viewpoint, specifically in countries in the Global North, favours enhanced wood use, including bioenergy, for substitution of emissions-intensive products and processes. (2) Others instead focus on the biophysical, resource-efficiency and time-response advantages of forest conservation and restoration for carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation, whilst often not explicitly specifying how much wood extraction can still safeguard these ecological benefits. We here argue for a new perspective in sustainable forest research that aims at forging "no-regret" forest-based climate change mitigation strategies. Based on the consideration of forest growth dynamics and the opportunity carbon cost associated with wood use, we suggest that, instead of taking (hypothetical) wood-for-fossil substitution as starting point in assessments of carbon implications of wood products and services, analyses should take the potential and desired carbon sequestration of forests as starting point and quantify sustainable yield potentials compatible with those carbon sequestration potentials. Such an approach explicitly addresses the possible benefits provided by forests as carbon sinks, brings research on the permanence and vulnerability of C-stocks in forests, of substitution effects, as well as explorations of demand-side strategies to the forefront of research and, in particular, aligns better with the urgency to find viable climate solutions.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Erb Karlheinz
Gingrich Simone
Haberl Helmut
Le Noe Julia
BOKU Gendermonitor:


Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
carbon sequestration
climate change mitigation
fossil-fuel substitution
nature-based solutions
opportunity carbon cost
research strategy


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