New Study Finds Protecting And Restoring EU Forests Is Key To Meeting CO2 Removal Goals

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EU forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change, according to a recent study conducted by Wild Europe and the Climate Action Beacon at Griffith University in Australia. 

The study found that protecting and restoring forests throughout Europe could have a significant impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million tonnes annually. 

This potential reduction in emissions would not only benefit the environment by helping to combat the climate crisis but also contribute to preserving biodiversity within EU forests.

Published in the scientific journal Nature Communications Earth & Environment, the study focused on data collected from various forest habitats across Europe to assess their carbon storage capacity. The analysis looked at the carbon content stored in different parts of the forests, including aboveground, belowground, and dead biomass. 

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Surprisingly, the research uncovered that governments have underestimated the carbon reserves in primary and ancient forests. The study points out that this miscalculation can be attributed to the inadequate consideration of these forests in climate and forest management policies.

The research stresses the importance of protecting and restoring forests in order to maximize their potential as carbon sinks. In particular, the study highlighted old-growth forests as a significant factor in this carbon storage. Essentially, bigger, older trees have the capacity to store more carbon.

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Based on this discovery, the research suggests that boosting carbon storage in diverse natural forests is a more effective way to reduce carbon emissions, as these forests, with their full range of biodiversity and related ecological processes, offer strong ecosystem resilience, ensuring the secure storage of carbon in reservoirs.

The study highlighted that the potential capacity for storage aligns with the goal set by the European Green Deal for carbon removal. Specifically, the target is to increase natural sinks’ net carbon removal to 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030. 

The main focus of this initiative by the EU is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This entails reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions throughout the union by that time. 

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