LULUCF

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)

 

Background

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 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol (KP) recognize the importance of land use sector as a potential way to mitigate climate change. In this line, industrialized countries prepare annual inventories of estimated GHG emissions and removals from the LULUCF. Inventories have to be made using the methodological guidance prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Through a series of accounting rules agreed within the UNFCCC, and after passing an expert review process, part of the estimates may become “credits” or “debits” contributing to the commitment of each country under the KP. In this context, the EU has established a GHG Monitoring Mechanism for evaluating the compliance of its Member States with the EU's commitments and the requirements under the UNFCCC/KP.
While LULUCF applies to industrialized countries, a related issue within the UNFCCC regards the need of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

LULUCF activities in FOREM project

The FOREM project 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 (e.g., UNFCCC, IPCC, FAO). More specifically, the LULUCF-related activities in the FOREM project include:

1. LULUCF measuring and reporting:

a)  In the context of the EU GHG Monitoring Mechanism: checking Member States’ GHG inventories; writing LULUCF chapter on EU National Inventory Report; helping Member States to improve their LULUCF monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) capacity through specific projects and workshops.
b)  Participation to the annual UNFCCC reviews of GHG inventories.
c)  Update of the IPCC methodological guidance for LULUCF under the KP.

2) International and EU LULUCF-related policies:

a) Support the EU during UNFCCC negotiations: contribution to the design and implementation of UNFCCC/KP decisions on LULUCF; analysis of the impact of LULUCF accounting rules (see the JRC LULUCF TOOL).
b) Support DG CLIMA in the design and implementation of policies for the inclusion of LULUCF in future EU GHG emissions targets.

3)  Forest modeling:

a)  Implementation of the Carbon Budget Model (CBM-CFS) to estimate the forest carbon dynamics and biomass availability in EU countries  following the IPCC guidance, and support to the development of the European Forest Dynamics Model (EFDM).
b)  Link the CBM model to other JRC-based models (i.e. LUMP, POLES) with the view of developing an integrated modeling framework capable of projecting CO2 emissions from LULUCF in Europe under different policy scenarios.

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.