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Forest in Koli

Photo credit: Jo Van Brusselen

Carbon – who needs to know? A closer look at those in need of national-level monitoring…

Authors: J. Van Brusselen, P.J. Verkerk and Y. Maximo

(This is the third posting in a series of blogs discussing underlying policy frameworks and specific user needs for forest carbon monitoring. The first two have been published on 16.12.2021 and 13.1.2022)

The Forest Carbon Monitoring project has been discussing with organizations about their carbon monitoring needs at European to national and regional levels, and even at the level of individual forest estates. With this blog post, we have a closer look at the carbon monitoring interests of EU, national and regional level organizations.

As the EU needs to have a good overview of what is going-on carbon-wise in all EU Member States, their needs are in tune with those of the organizations that are responsible for the annual national greenhouse gas reporting to the UNFCCC secretariat. Currently the reporting of GHG emissions and removals by forests mostly relies on national forest inventories for the estimation of biomass-based carbon fluxes on forest lands.

Through cooperation with Finnish, Swiss, Spanish, and Peruvian public organizations in charge of either national greenhouse gas inventories and/or forest inventories, the Forest Carbon Monitoring project is having excellent additional experts on board, who help setting the benchmark and who are themselves experts in carbon inventory methods. The geographical diversity that is covered through this cooperation, will also help ensuring a development of algorithms that will be applicable to the varied forest conditions in Europe and beyond.

Together with the cooperating experts, the FCM project team identified the requirements towards national and regional carbon monitoring. Some variations were observed among the organizations’ needs, influenced mainly through the organizations’ geographic and operational differences.  For example, some partners would ideally have a shortened temporal resolution, while others would accept longer time intervals between assessments – though in general a period of one to two years were preferred. Variation was also observed in other aspects such as spatial resolution, accuracy specifications, and other parameters.

We thank all the representatives of the partnering organizations for their enthusiasm and contributions to the FCM project!