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LULUCF: Analysis of LULUCF actions in EU Member States as reported under Art. 10 of the LULUCF Decision


LULUCF: Analysis of LULUCF actions in EU Member States as reported under Art. 10 of the LULUCF Decision

The Study on "Analysis of LULUCF actions in EU Member States as reported under Art. 10 of the LULUCF Decision" has been developed by IEEP, Ricardo-AEA, and Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) for DG CLIMA of the European Commission. The project started in May 2017 and it has been completed in November. It aims at:

- to analyse the LULUCF action initial reports (submitted by the Member States to the Commission in 2014 or 2015) and progress reports (submitted in 2016)

? to enhance the understanding of the strategic and forward-looking aspects of LULUCF-related policies in the EU ? to generate understanding of the potential for enhanced LULUCF mitigation action.

Synthesis findings

The synthesis of Article 10 reports listed 679 LULUCF measures and policies in an array of ongoing and planned initiatives mainly in forestry and agriculture. The Article 10 reports are not built on a harmonized template, and therefore present information with a heterogeneous level of detail and of types of information. The reported LULUCF actions cover different constellations of the Member States without a clear pattern relevant to climatic zones or land use coverage. The majority of measures and policies are implemented at national level, with the exception of the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain where regional approaches prevail. The stated objectives of the actions vary across the Member States and categories of measures. Measures targeting both conservation of carbon in existing forests and grassland/grazing land/pasture management mostly have GHG emission reduction and carbon sequestration as their primary objectives. In other areas, LULUCF mitigation benefits take a secondary role in the overall rationale of the activities. Reports often identify several strong links between the reported measures and national policy priorities such as rural development, multi-functionality of forests, biodiversity protection, water protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, industrial innovation, or the circular economy. Most Member States subordinate LULUCF actions to other policy priorities (such as sustainable forest management), usually adopted before the LULUCF sector was formally given an active role in climate change mitigation. In that sense, the reports submitted under Article 10 are a collection of more or less LULUCF-relevant policies and measures rather than an inventory of activities fulfilling a mitigation strategy in the LULUCF sector. Overall the actions are implemented predominantly through economic incentives (mainly CAP payments) and to a smaller extent also strategic documents, and legal requirements. 

Member States that have implemented policies and measures aimed at increasing the harvested wood products (HWP) pool (11 out of 27 reporting Member States) are likely to have a more positive impact on climate mitigation than those that have focused on the use of biomass for energy, particularly over the longer term. In some cases, Member States are opting for both strategies (9 out of 27, see figure 8 below and Annex 1). The real impact of policies and measures will depend on the maintenance of the carbon sink in managed forests, particularly where increment is declining and harvest increasing.