Activities

Our current activities include the following topics:

Information of the spatial distribution of European forests is needed for forest protection and conservation, forest resource analysis, climate change research and other forest related applications. The Forest mapping group is focused on developing maps that are consistent over Europe, independent of national boundaries, and with a high level of spatial detail and accuracy. Maps are compatible with INSPIRE directives.

In Europe,  the continued expansion of grey (artificial) infrastructure (urban and transport) and of intensive agriculture are increasingly eroding our natural fabric and natural capital (e.g. green infrastructure). These expansions are considered the biggest threat to biodiversity. Our research activities have focused on developing and applying a standardised and easily reproducible set of indices.

Forest fires research activities in the Action provide the scientific background for the development and implementation of the different modules of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

Climate dynamics are imposing great pressure on Europe's forests. As a result, forests are increasingly exposed to climate-driven threats such as degradation, shifts in species distribution, extinction risk and changes in forest dynamics among others. We are assessing the potential response of European forests to scenarios of climate change, by implementing modelling tools for assessing tree species and forest type habitat suitability under current and future climate conditions.

Forest ecosystem functions support the provision of ecosystem services to humans. These constitute the direct and indirect contributions of forest ecosystems to human wellbeing. Our current activities include biophysical mapping and assessment of forest ecosystem services; measuring changes in the provision of these services as a result of anthropogenic and natural disturbances; economic valuation and environmental and economic accounting.

The “Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry” (LULUCF) sector includes emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from six land uses: forests, cropland (only CO2), grasslands (only CO2), wetlands, settlements and other lands. In the EU, the amount of CO2 absorbed by LULUCF (mainly by forests) offsets about 8% of the GHG emissions from the other sectors. The FORESTMOD Action provides scientific and technical support on LULUCF issues to EC Services (DG CLIMA), the European Environment Agency, the EU Member States, and to other international bodies. More specifically, the LULUCF-related activities in the FOREST Project include LULUCF measuring and reporting; international and EU LULUCF-related policies; and forest modelling.

Mission

As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.