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EU Forest reference levels: The compatible harvest volumes compiled and assessed in terms of forest sector market development

Risto Päivinen, A. Maarit I. Kallio, Birger Solberg and Liisa Käär

Forest Policy and Economics, 2022, vol. 140, issue C

Abstract: This study assesses harvest levels compatible with the reference levels for forest management sinks (FRLs) within the EU, the UK, and Norway (EU + UK + N). A detailed examination of the harvest data and the National Forest Accounting Plans of the countries within this region reveals that the countries have calculated their FRLs based on different modelling approaches and that the quality of data used has not always been sound. The process of preparing the FRLs has most likely contributed to improvements in this regard, but obtaining comparable and reliable data on the harvest levels compatible to the FRLs still represents a challenge. We estimated that within EU + UK + N, the aggregated FRL-compatible harvests would be 597 Mm3/a over bark for the first compliance period 2021–2025 and 619 Mm3/a over bark for the second compliance period 2026–2030. Comparing the FRL-compatible harvest levels to future harvests projected by linear trend and by global forest sector modelling, we found that some of the countries seemed likely to reach their FRLs without needing to deviate from their market-driven harvests, whereas the region as a whole would not reach its FRLs without measures taken to decrease the harvests. If harvests would be reduced from the market driven levels, it would cause harvest leakage to the other countries. We found that for each 1 m3 of roundwood harvest reduction in EU + UK + N in year 2030, roundwood harvest would increase by some 0.64 m3 in rest of the world, giving a leakage rate of 64%. In addition to harvest leakage, there would also be some leakage of forest industry production. The leakage effect strongly weakens the effectiveness and cost efficiency of reducing harvests in the EU as a policy means for climate change mitigation.

Keywords: Forest sector; Harvest leakage; Carbon sink; Climate policy; Forest policy; Modelling; International forest statistics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102748

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