LIFE Project Cover Photo

Recovery of degraded coniferous Forests for environmental sustainability Restoration and climate change Mitigation

Reference: LIFE14 CCM/IT/000905 | Acronym: LIFE FoResMit

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are the most important greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from agricultural and forest soils, contributing 60%, 15% and 5%, respectively, towards global warming. Forest ecosystems commonly act as a net sink for CO2, contributing to climate change mitigation by removing atmospheric CO2 and storing it in different carbon pools (i.e. biomass, soil, dead organic matter, litter). Moreover, forests comprise an important carbon reservoir, since they store about twice the amount present in the atmosphere. The capacity of ecosystems to store carbon depends on the balance between net primary productivity (NPP) and heterotrophic respiration. Whether a particular ecosystem is functioning as sink or source ofGHG emission may change over time, depending on its vulnerability to climate change and other stressors and disturbances.

Deforestation and forest degradation are significant contributors to global GHG emissions, but if these processes are controlled, forests can significantly contribute to climate change mitigation. To reverse current forest degradation, an innovative management plan is required that supports and facilitates all the functionalities of peri-urban forests in the context of climate change mitigation. The reduction in the capacity of these forests to provide goods and services is often related to the absence of appropriate silviculture practices, which increases the risk of fires and compromises their value for recreational purposes.


OBJECTIVES

The LIFE FoResMit project aimed to draw up guidelines for good silvicultural practices for the restoration of peri-urban degraded coniferous forests in Italy and Greece with native broadleaved species. These would improve the ecological stability and climate change mitigation potential of these ecosystems.

The project also planned to test and verify in the field the effectiveness of management options for the conversion of degraded coniferous forests in meeting climate change mitigation objectives. It would provide data on vegetation structure, biomass increment, carbon accumulation in all relevant pools of vegetation and soil, and CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, thus giving a complete picture of mitigation potential of management practices.


RESULTS

The LIFE FoResMit project collected data over four years (2015-2018) to monitor the impact of silvicultural interventions, including data on:

  • carbon stock in above and belowground biomass, litter, deadwood and soil;
  • structure, resilience and stability of the forest stands;
  • CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes;
  • Global Warming Potential during thinning, and one and two years after thinning;
  • bioenergy production and fossil fuel substitution;
  • carbon sequestration potential in vegetation and soil; and
  • number of years required to produce carbon credits.
  • The project clearly demonstrated that selective thinning, compared to traditional thinning, increases the forest stand stability and enhances its capacity to mitigate climatic change by increasing the sequestration capacity of carbon in above and below ground living biomass as a consequence of an increase of the net primary production.

    The reformed thinning operations resulted in a short-term variation of GHG fluxes, which increased more strongly in Monte Morello than Xanthi, because of the use of heavy machinery and the consequent soil disturbance. Both sites are methane sinks, independent of management. Moreover, through selective thinning it was possible to increase CH4 uptake even after thinning. Overall, during the six months after silvicultural operations at the two sites, selective thinning saved 439 kg CO2eq ha-1 with respect to the control traditional thinning, which produced 2,512 kg CO2eq ha-1. Hence, selective thinning appeared to have the best performance in terms of GHG emissions. Short-term effects of thinning The LIFE FoResMit project collected data over four years (2015-2018) to monitor the impact of silvicultural interventions, including data on:

  • carbon stock in above and belowground biomass, litter, deadwood and soil;
  • structure, resilience and stability of the forest stands;
  • CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes;
  • Global Warming Potential during thinning, and one and two years after thinning;
  • bioenergy production and fossil fuel substitution;
  • carbon sequestration potential in vegetation and soil; and
  • number of years required to produce carbon credits.
  • The project clearly demonstrated that selective thinning, compared to traditional thinning, increases the forest stand stability and enhances its capacity to mitigate climatic change by increasing the sequestration capacity of carbon in above and below ground living biomass as a consequence of an increase of the net primary production.

    The reformed thinning operations resulted in a short-term variation of GHG fluxes, which increased more strongly in Monte Morello than Xanthi, because of the use of heavy machinery and the consequent soil disturbance. Both sites are methane sinks, independent of management. Moreover, through selective thinning it was possible to increase CH4 uptake even after thinning. Overall, during the six months after silvicultural operations at the two sites, selective thinning saved 439 kg CO2eq ha-1 with respect to the control traditional thinning, which produced 2,512 kg CO2eq ha-1. Hence, selective thinning appeared to have the best performance in terms of GHG emissions. Short-term effects of thinning

    ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE14 CCM/IT/000905
    Acronym: LIFE FoResMit
    Start Date: 01/09/2015
    End Date: 31/08/2019
    Total Budget: 1,480,568 €
    EU Contribution: 879,264 €
    Project Location:
    Project Website: http://abp.entecra.it

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Via Po, 14, 00198, ROMA, Italia
    Contact Person: Alessandra Lagomarsino
    Email: alessandra.lagomarsino@crea.gov.it
    Tel: 390552491232
    Fax: 39055241485


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors
    • Carbon sequestration

    KEYWORDS

    • periurban space
    • emission reduction
    • greenhouse gas
    • forest management
    • biomass energy
    • restoration measure
    • carbon sequestration

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Decision 529/2013 - Accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities relating to land use, land-use change and forestry and on information concerning actions relating to those activities (21.05.2013)
    • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria Coordinator
    DAMT(Decentralized Administration of Macedonia & Trace , Xanthi Forest Directorate), Greece Participant
    PROVIFI(Città Metropolitana di Firenze), Italy Participant
    DUTH(Department of Forestry and Management of ENvironment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace), Greece Participant

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