The Role of Forests in Mitigating Climate Change – a Case Study for Europe

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Abstract

- A regional-scale case study has been carried out to assess the possible climatic benefits of forest cover increase in Europe. For the end of the 21st century (2071-2090) it has been investigated, whether the projected climate change could be reduced assuming potential afforestation of the continent. The magnitude of the biogeophysical effects of enhanced forest cover on temperature and precipitation means and extremes have been analyzed relative to the magnitude of the climate change signal applying the regional climate model REMO. The simulation results indicate that in the largest part of the temperate zone potential afforestation may reduce the projected climate change through cooler and moister conditions, thus could contribute to the mitigation of the projected climate change for the entire summer period. The largest relative effect of forest cover increase can be expected in northern Germany, Poland and Ukraine. Here, the projected precipitation decrease could be fully compensated, the temperature increase could be relieved by up to 0.5 °C, and the probability of extremely warm and dry days could be reduced. Results can help to identify the areas, where forest cover increase could be the most effective from climatic point of view. Thus they can build an important basis of the future adaptation strategies and forest policy.

Kivonat -

Esettanulmány az erdők klímavédelmi szerepének vizsgálatára Európában. Az esettanulmány célja az erdőterület növekedés éghajlati hatásainak, a klímaváltozás mérsékelésében betöltött szerepének számszerűsítése Európában. A REMO regionális klímamodell segítségével vizsgáltuk, hogy a feltételezett potenciális erdőtelepítéssel milyen irányban és mértékben befolyásolhatók a 2071-2090-es időszakra előrevetített hőmérséklet- és csapadéktendenciák. A modellszimulációk eredményei alapján, potenciális erdőtelepítés feltételezésével nyáron a mérsékelt övi területek döntő része hűvösebb, csapadékosabb lehet. A legnagyobb hatás Németország és Lengyelország északi részén, valamint az ukrán-belorusz-orosz határvidéken várható. Ezeken a területeken az erdőtelepítés hatása a hőmérsékletre egy nagyságrenddel kisebb, mint az üvegházgáz koncentráció változásáé. A klímaváltozással járó csapadékmennyiség-csökkenés azonban szinte teljes egészében kiegyenlíthető lenne, és a szélsőségesen meleg és száraz napok gyakorisága csökkenhet. Az erdő-klíma kölcsönhatások számszerűsítése nem csak az erdők klímavédelmi szerepéről ad információt, hanem az éghajlatváltozás következményeinek megelőzését, enyhítését célzó stratégiák alapja is lehet.

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Acta Silvatica et Lignaria Hungarica

The Journal of University of West Hungary

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CiteScore 2016: 0.50

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