The spread and growth of forests across the Alps qualifies the region as a potentially outstanding sink for CO₂ emissions in the EU. However, there is no complete understanding and knowledge base on the potential of Alpine forest as C-sinks and on management practices that could increase their storing capacity.
The role of forests as C-sinks is well-known. However, it can be further supported by the use of appropriate and scientifically sound methods, often coupled with tools that allow a fine-tuning of the practices implemented. The pathway aims at providing Alpine forest managers with a set of calculation and management tools that allow a more effective use of Alpine forests as C-sinks.
Definition of specific targets for CO₂-friendly Alpine forest management and wood production in line with EU Directives (2020-2024) (e.g., forest types more suitable to store CO₂, priority interventions, use of accounting tools or other instruments, etc.).
Due to climate change, mountain forests face an increased risk from dry periods and extreme events such as wind gusts and forest fires. Weakened trees also become more vulnerable to pest diseases. On the other hand, the forest cover is growing in the Alps due to the abandonment of cultivated areas and the rise in temperature. Sustainable forest management is key to fully use both the protective and mitigation function of mountain forests, as forests act as a carbon sink, they supply wood as construction material and renewable energy source and they offer natural protection from avalanches, floods and other disasters.
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