Rapid Review of the Evidence on Forests and Climate Change

PSI researchers:

Simon Dresner

Background, summary and aims

Background and Aims

The purpose of this project is to carry out a rapid review of existing evidence about the interactions between climate change and forestry. The review, which will comprise of a scoping study, technical report and conference paper, will be used to inform an international OECD conference on forestry and climate change in November. The report will identify knowledge gaps and research needs around forests and climate change, and how UK research budgets in this area are currently deployed. This information will feed into Forestry Commission discussions about the possible role of a UK-based Centre of Excellence on Forests and Climate Change Research.

Project Design

The purpose of this project is to conduct a scoping study into the interactions between forests and climate change, resulting in a technical report (50-60pp.) and a shorter paper (15-20pp.), which will feed into a conference on the subject at Wilton Park in mid-November 2006, to be organised for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The review will cover a broad range of subject areas, including; Scientific knowledge and uncertainty about forests, carbon and climate change; Forests and water (use, storage and management); Forests and biodiversity; Land use for forests and for other purposes (in particular bio-fuels); Markets for forest products; Markets for carbon; and the Ethics of Commercialising the Natural World.

Importance of Research

Despite the significant role that forestry plays in the carbon cycle and the implications of this for climate change, there remains uncertainty about the extent of global climatic change and its impacts on forestry. This review will seek to address several key questions for forest managers to consider in the context of climate change, including:
• What can forestry do to help meet climate change objectives; and
• How should the global community seek to tackle the problem of deforestation?

The project therefore has a global focus, but seeks to clarify the UK’s role in addressing the issue of forestry at a global level. In substantive terms the project seeks to clarify the questions:
• What is known about the interactions between forests and climate change?
• What solutions are being put forward about how forests might mitigate the impacts of climate change?
• How substantive is the evidence base for these solutions?

Related publications / project outputs

Forestry and Climate Change: Global Understandings and Possible Responses

Forests and Climate Change: Global Understandings and Possible Responses