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Webinar: Boreal Forests and Climate Change, May 20-21

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.

Please note that the link you receive upon registration will be used both on May 20 and May 21. Spaces on the webinar, with interactive possibilities, are limited but the event will also be available as a livestream.

The debate over the role of forests in mitigating climate change is growing heated, both in the scientific community and the policy realm. Future Earth and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will host a two-day webinar with leading international experts, who will present up-to-date scientific information and guidance for societal, climate and ecological benefits of natural and managed boreal forests.

Today’s choices for forest management and conservation will have immediate impacts on the atmosphere, and future influence on the ecosystems of tomorrow. Boreal forests currently serve as carbon sinks, taking up about 1-2 billion tons of carbon annually. As tropical forests weaken as sinks, the world will increasingly rely on boreal forests for their uptake and long-term storage of carbon. But can they deliver such ecosystem services? Contributing to the debate are policies for increasing biomass use for energy and the establishment of the concept of “natural climate solutions” (NCS).

The webinar will focus on 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 current research, 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.

Speakers will address 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

09:30
Welcome remarks
Dan Larhammar, President of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Wendy Broadgate, Global Hub Director, Future Earth Sweden

09:35
Introduction: Boreal forests, the climate, and much more

Markku Rummukainen, Lund University

10.00-11:00
Session 1: Boreal forests and the land sink, global outlook
Moderator: 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

11:00
Short break

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

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

Soil carbon balances on the Swedish forest soil inventory

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

12:10-14:00
Lunch break

14:00-15:20
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

15:20
Short break

15:30-16:30
Session 4: What can “natural climate solutions” (NCS) in boreal forests provide and under what conditions?
Moderator: 
 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

16:30-17:00
Ending session – conclusions of the day
Panel: 
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

09:00
Introduction
Lars Bergström, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Erik Pihl, Future Earth Sweden

09:05-10:20
Session 5: What are the future expectations on forest materials and energy, and what are the potentials given ecological constraints?
Moderator: 
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

10:20
Short break

10:30-11:50
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

Optimizing 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

12:00-13:00
Lunch break

13:00-14:15
Session 7: Weighing different forest management systems from the perspectives of climate, ecology and societal benefits
Moderator: 
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

14:15
Short break

14:25-15:30
Ending session – conclusions of both days
Moderator: 
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.

 

Program subject to change.

Register for the webinar 

Please note that the link you receive upon registration will be used both on May 20 and May 21.

The symposium will be recorded and later published on www.kva.se/video and the Academy’s Youtube channel, as well as Future Earth channels.

Contact

Erik Pihl, Future Earth, erik.pihl [@t] futureearth.org