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Journal Article

Trade‐Offs for Climate‐Smart Forestry in Europe Under Uncertain Future Climate


Gregor,  Konstantin
External Organizations;

Knoke,  Thomas
External Organizations;

Krause,  Andreas
External Organizations;


Reyer,  Christopher P. O.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Lindeskog,  Mats
External Organizations;

Papastefanou,  Phillip
External Organizations;

Smith,  Benjamin
External Organizations;

Lansø,  Anne‐Sofie
External Organizations;

Rammig,  Anja
External Organizations;

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Gregor, K., Knoke, T., Krause, A., Reyer, C. P. O., Lindeskog, M., Papastefanou, P., Smith, B., Lansø, A., Rammig, A. (2022): Trade‐Offs for Climate‐Smart Forestry in Europe Under Uncertain Future Climate. - Earth's Future, 10, 9, e2022EF002796.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_27539
Forests mitigate climate change by storing carbon and reducing emissions via substitution effects of wood products. Additionally, they provide many other important ecosystem services (ESs), but are vulnerable to climate change; therefore, adaptation is necessary. Climate-smart forestry combines mitigation with adaptation, whilst facilitating the provision of many ESs. This is particularly challenging due to large uncertainties about future climate. Here, we combined ecosystem modeling with robust multi-criteria optimization to assess how the provision of various ESs (climate change mitigation, timber provision, local cooling, water availability, and biodiversity habitat) can be guaranteed under a broad range of climate futures across Europe. Our optimized portfolios contain 29% unmanaged forests, and implicate a successive conversion of 34% of coniferous to broad-leaved forests (11% vice versa). Coppices practically vanish from Southern Europe, mainly due to their high water requirement. We find the high shares of unmanaged forests necessary to keep European forests a carbon sink while broad-leaved and unmanaged forests contribute to local cooling through biogeophysical effects. Unmanaged forests also pose the largest benefit for biodiversity habitat. However, the increased shares of unmanaged and broad-leaved forests lead to reductions in harvests. This raises the question of how to meet increasing wood demands without transferring ecological impacts elsewhere or enhancing the dependence on more carbon-intensive industries. Furthermore, the mitigation potential of forests depends on assumptions about the decarbonization of other industries and is consequently crucially dependent on the emission scenario. Our findings highlight that trade-offs must be assessed when developing concrete strategies for climate-smart forestry.