Adopting a holistic approach to maximise forest-based climate change mitigation

Adopting a holistic approach to maximise forest-based climate change mitigation

The European Forest Institute published a new study with the title Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe in the From Science to Policy series. This analysis focuses on the role of forests and wood use in contributing to mitigate climate change. The 12 authors from 7 different countries conclude that European forests and wood products can play a crucial role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. However, their potential is not enough to compensate for a lack of actions in other areas.

In particular, the study focuses on the role of forests in the removal of green house gas emissions. Moreover, the authors investigate how to maximise the effectiveness of forests contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The study recommends the adoption of a holistic approach, where multiple forest-base mitigation actions are combined to foster synergies, interactions, co-benefits, and regional applicability.

Read the full open access study

Download the associated policy brief


Verkerk, P.J., Delacote, P., Hurmekoski, E., Kunttu, J., Matthews, R., Mäkipää, R., Mosley, F., Perugini, L., Reyer, C. P. O., Roe, S., Trømborg, E. 2022. Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe. From Science to Policy 14. European Forest Institute

Review on greenhouse gas reporting in European forest soils

Review on greenhouse gas reporting in European forest soils

In the framework of the HoliSoils project, the Thuenen Institute is working on the soil monitoring framework. In particular, their work focuses on reviewing European GHG reporting in forest soils, developing guidelines for harmonized soil sampling methods for future reporting and providing a server for open-access harmonized European maps of forest soil properties. Furthermore, they developed a survey for GHG experts to gain their suggestions for improvement concerning GHG reporting.

Their work mainly focuses on carbon (C) data from forest soils remaining forest soils and differentiates between mineral and organic soils. On this poster, Vera Makowski and Nicole Wellbrock give an overview of the most important findings of the review process and the resultant actions within HoliSoils.

Read more on the full poster

New public consultation for an EU Soil Health Law

New public consultation for an EU Soil Health Law

The European Commission has opened a new public consultation to gather input from citizens and stakeholders on a possible EU Soil Health Law.

As part of the EU Soil Strategy 2030, the European Commission is preparing a new legislative proposal on soil health. Currently, all stakeholders interested are invited to express their views on this initiative by taking part in this public consultation through an online EU survey.

Find out more about this possible soil health law on the European Commission’s website and consult the EU Have Your Say portal to keep up with the developments of the initiative.

Fill out the survey by 24 October 2022!

Get to know the European Union’s Mission’ A Soil Deal for Europe’

Get to know the European Union’s Mission’ A Soil Deal for Europe’

Soils are crucial for strong biodiversity, functional food systems, clean water, and climate resilience. However, only between 30% and 40% of the soils in the European Union are estimated to be healthy: a careful soil management is therefore necessary to safeguard this precious resource for our future.

To lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030, A Soil Deal for Europe was established with the goal to set up one hundred living labs and lighthouses. These facilities are places where experts can experiment on the ground and their aim is to co-produce knowledge, test solutions, and determine their value in real-life circumstances.

Moreover, this EU Mission intends to achieve this transition towards healthy soils by funding research and innovations, establish a common European framework for soil monitoring, and raising awareness of the relevance of soils.

Discover more details on living labs and lighthouses, the full list of objectives of the mission and its relevance for the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal.

Read the Mission Implementation Plan to discover the details on how these goals can be achieved.

How soil can help save the world

How soil can help save the world

Soil science is not usually considered the most exciting discipline by the general public. Many people – including in the science world – have underestimated what is beneath our feet.

However, we are now in the International Decade of Soils, and it is time to shine a light on the role of soil in providing food security, supporting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. This article from the BBC showcases how Pete Smith, Professor of Soil and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, makes the study of soil appealing, for instance, considering how wetlands and peatlands are the “Cinderella” of climate change mitigation.

Read on to find a myriad of ways in which soil can indeed help save the world.

How soil can help save the world, BBC Radio 4 in Four,

Listen now to why soil matters for many challenges beyond climate change

Listen now to why soil matters for many challenges beyond climate change

In the BBC’s podcast The Life Scientific, Jim Al-Khalili interviews Pete Smith, Professor of Soil and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, on the underestimation of soil science and how throughout his career he realised that studying soil can be key to deal with a variety of global issues.

The conversation focuses on how soil is vital not only for climate change mitigation, but also for improving biodiversity and tackling many more sustainable development challenges.

Listen to the full conversation and get to know why soil is so crucial for our future.

Pete Smith on why soil matters, The Life Scientific,

New funding opportunities for the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’

New funding opportunities for the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’

After an amendment to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022, new opportunities for funding have been published on the Commission’s funding and tender opportunities portal to contribute to the A Soil Deal for Europe Mission.

The goals of this mission include but are not limited to reducing desertification, conserving soil organic carbon stocks, enhancing soil biodiversity, and improving soil literacy in society.

Apply by 27 September 2022.

More information

Young scientist session on Climate Smart Forestry

EFI Annual Conference, 5 October 2022

Call for grants now closed but you can still register to join the session!

A great opportunity to present your research on Climate Smart Forestry at this year’s EFI annual conference!

Grants (750 EUR) are available to support young researchers to present research in the field of climate-smart forestry.

  • 10 min presentation in person on your research
  • Participation in a panel discussion during the Climate Smart Forestry Session

The call is open to researchers from EFI Associate and Affiliate member organisations.

Full information on the open call:

PhD defence invitation – Soil organic carbon modelling

PhD defence invitation – Soil organic carbon modelling

PhD candidate Elisa Bruni from the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (LSCE) in France is pleased to invite you to her doctoral thesis defence entitled “Soil organic carbon modelling: estimating carbon input changes required to reach policy objectives aimed at increasing soil organic carbon stocks”.

The defence will take place on Monday 28 March 2022 at 2:00 p.m. in Amphi 7 of AgroParisTech (Paris-Maine), located at 19 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris. For those who prefer to attend remotely, you can join the videoconference through the following link (Meeting ID: 930 0252 2076 / Password: 954715). The presentation will be held in English.

The thesis jury board is composed of the following experts:

  • Axel DON, Senior Lecturer, Thünen Institute (Germany) – Rapporteur & Examiner
  • Isabelle BASILE, Research Director, INRAE Centre PACA (France) – Rapporteur & Examiner
  • Sébastien Barot, Director of Research, IRD (France) – Examiner
  • Patricia Garnier, Director of Research, INRAE (France) – Examiner
  • Emanuele Lugato, Project manager, Joint Research Centre (Europe) – Examiner
  • Stefano Manzoni, Senior Lecturer, Stockholm University (Sweden) – Examiner
  • Claire Chenu, Director of Research, INRAE (France) – Thesis director
  • Bertrand Guenet, Research Fellow, INRAE (France) – Examiner
  • Denis Angers, Honorary Director of Research, Université de Laval (Canada) – Invited
  • Gaby Deckmyn, Senior Scientist, University of Antwerp (Belgium) – Invited

Thesis abstract

To partially compensate for CO2 emissions, the 4 per 1000 initiative proposed an annual 4‰ soil organic carbon (SOC) stock increase. Yet, the feasibility of such an ambitious target is still under debate. The most efficient way to increase the SOC stocks is to increase the C input to the soil. The objective of this thesis was to estimate the C input required to yearly increase the SOC stocks by 4‰ in European croplands.

To solve this problem, we built an inverse modelling approach and tested it on a SOC model, by estimating the C input required to reach the 4‰ objective at multiple long-term agricultural experiments in Europe. Then, we applied this approach to a multimodel ensemble, to assess the uncertainties of the estimations according to different representations of the SOC dynamics. As a first attempt to provide insights for policymakers on the feasibility of a 4‰ target in Europe, we applied a multi-model ensemble over the whole European cropland area, and we generated maps of the required C input under two scenarios of climate change. To improve the simulation of SOC stocks at the European scale, we tested a new, statistically derived, parametrization technique.

Our study demonstrates that there are substantial uncertainties around the C input required to reach a 4‰ target. However, a general pattern emerges at the European cropland scale, where the 4‰ target seems feasible under future scenarios of climate change, only assuming drastic increases of C input to the soil.

HoliSoils in a nutshell

HoliSoils in a nutshell

Soils are crucial for the global climate and human wellbeing, providing clear benefits for people and the planet in their sustainable management. Knowledge gaps on forest soil processes and the lack of harmonised soil monitoring limits our ability to maintain soil-related ecosystem services and achieve climate policy objectives.

A better understanding of soil processes can support decision making in meeting climate and sustainability goals. This requires harmonised monitoring methods, models, tools and data to develop and inform policies and strategies to meet the SDGs of the UN 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, as well as the European Green Deal.

Find out how HoliSoils meets this challenge! The HoliSoils brochure is available now for an excellent overview on this exciting project focussing on holistic management practices, modelling and monitoring for European forest soils.

HoliSoils brochure – English (PDF)

HoliSoils brochure – Japanese (PDF)

HoliSoils brochure – Slovak (PDF)