Webinar: Boreal Forests and Climate Change

Date: 2021-05-20 00:00 - 2021-05-21 00:00

Venue: Digital on Zoom

Webinar: Boreal Forests and Climate Change

World-leading experts will present up-to-date scientific information and guidance for societal, climate and ecological benefits of natural and managed boreal forests. The webinar will be a dialogue between researchers and policymakers, to address gaps in knowledge and societal actions, for the immediate and long-term future. Video from the webinar can now be watched.

The debate over the role of forests in mitigating climate change is growing heated, both in the scientific community and the policy realm. Contributing to the debate are policies for increasing biomass use for energy and the establishment of the concept of “natural climate solutions” (NCS).

Boreal forests serve as carbon sinks, taking up on the order of 1-2 billion tons of carbon annually. As tropical forests weaken as carbon sinks, the world will increasingly rely on a steady uptake in boreal forests, but can they deliver such ecosystem services? Today’s forest management and conservation choices will have immediate impacts on the atmosphere, and influence the preservation of healthy ecosystems for the future.

The Environment and Energy Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Future Earth welcome you to an open two-day scientific webinar on boreal forests and climate change with experts from around the world, linking research on different scales and areas of knowledge.

Invited speakers will discuss the European and Nordic contexts of boreal forests, climate, and their management, while touching on Russian and Canadian forests. The goal is to provide an overview of what current research shows, identify gaps in understanding boreal forests as carbon sinks and their resilience towards future disturbances, and inform ongoing debates about forests and forestry, from local to global scales. The first day will be focused on nature-based solutions and the second day on the best management practices for forestry, for the benefit of climate, ecosystems and society.

Join the discussion on a variety of key questions, including:

  • the main factors for carbon uptake and storage in boreal forests;
  • best estimates for the current boreal forest carbon sink and how to increase it;
  • the importance of biodiversity and soil organisms for carbon uptake and boreal forests’ health;
  • and whether forestry products can actually substitute for fossil fuel products from a climate change perspective.

Agenda, Day 1, 20 May 2021

Host for Day 1: Erik Pihl, Future Earth Sweden

Welcome remarks
Dan Larhammar, President of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Wendy Broadgate, Global Hub Director, Future Earth Sweden

Introduction: Boreal forests, the climate, and much more

Markku Rummukainen, Lund University

Session 1: Boreal forests and the land sink, global outlook

 Anders Ahlström, Lund University, Sweden

Boreal forests play a key role in Earth’s carbon cycle
Philippe Ciais, Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory, France

Natural versus anthropogenic fluxes and the overall effects of land use on climate
Julia Pongratz, LMU Munich, Germany

Importance of biodiversity in boreal forests

Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

Q&A with all three speakers in panel

Short break

11:10- 12:10
Session 2: Carbon stocks and changes in natural and managed boreal forests
 Ana Bastos, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

Carbon balances in old-growth Swedish forests
Anders Ahlström, Lund University, Sweden

Soil carbon balances in Swedish forests

Erik Karltun, SLU, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Natural carbon pools – LULUCF accounting and the EU climate policy

Magnus Nilsson, Independent consultant, Sweden

Q&A with all three speakers in panel

Lunch break

Session 3: Future climate feedback and disturbance to boreal forests

Moderator:  Julia Pongratz, LMU Munich, Germany

How will disturbance impact the future boreal carbon sink? Current trends and future uncertainties
Anna T. Trugman, Trugman Lab, UC Santa Barbara, USA

Future threats to boreal forests from compound extreme events and disturbances
Ana Bastos, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

Long-term dynamics of forest fires in Nordic countries
Igor Drobyshev, SLU, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden 

Increasing wildfire and the carbon balance of boreal forests
Michelle Mack, Northern Arizona University, USA

Q&A with all four speakers in panel

Short break

Session 4: What can “natural climate solutions” (NCS) in boreal forests provide and under what conditions?
 Benjamin Poulter, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA.

Can boreal forests contribute to net-zero emission pathways
Werner Kurz, Natural Resources Canada, Canada

Potential for Natural Climate Solutions in the forests of Canada
Ronnie Drever, Nature United, The Nature Conservancy, Canada

Estimating boreal forest carbon from space shows the potentials for increasing uptake and storage
Christopher S.R. Neigh, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA

Q&A with all three speakers in panel

Ending session – conclusions of the day
Philippe Ciais, Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory, France, Julia Pongratz, LMU Munich, Germany, Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

Agenda, Day 2, 21 May 2021

Host for Day 2: Lars Bergström, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Lars Bergström, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Erik Pihl, Future Earth Sweden

Session 5: What are the future expectations on forest materials and energy, and what are the potentials given ecological constraints?
Anders Wijkman, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Demand for biomass on the increase
Ebba Willerström-Ehrning, Fossil Free Sweden, Sweden

The future we want – the forest we need
Tomas Lundmark, SLU, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

What Possible Futures Will We Get?
Sten Nilsson, Forest Sector Insights, Sweden

Q&A session with all speakers

Short break

Session 6: Carbon reduction potential of forest products
Moderator: Anders Wijkman, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Forest products in the transition towards climate targets
Göran Berndes, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Forest bioenergy and carbon accounting
Giacomo Grassi, Joint Research Centre (JRC) at European Commission (EC)

Does wood harvesting help in climate change mitigation?
Sampo Soimakallio, Finnish Environment Institute, Finland

Optimising the value of forests to humanity- a challenge for science and policy
Mike Norton, European Academies’ Science Advisory Council

Q&A session with all speakers

Lunch break

Session 7: Weighing different forest management systems from the perspectives of climate, ecology and societal benefits
Anders Lindroth, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Measuring the total benefit of different silvicultural systems
Timo Pukkala, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Adding climate goals to boreal silviculture – is rotation forestry up to the challenge?
Rolf Björheden, Skogforsk (Forest Research), Sweden

Forest multi-functionality: hand in glove with forest management diversity
Giuliana Zanchi, Lund University, Sweden

Q&A session with all speakers

Short break

Ending session – conclusions of both days
Anders Wijkman, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Panel: Erik Eriksson, Formas, Sweden, Jytte Guteland, European Parliament, Rebecka Le Moine, Miljöpartiet, Sweden, Stefan Nyström, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Sweden, Kristina Yngwe,  Riksdagens Miljö- och Jordbruksutskott, Sweden.

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Peter Brandén
Program Coordinator