Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences | Geography Department | Biogeography | News_folder | Addressing Climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European Forests – FORESTS and CO project launched

Addressing Climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European Forests – FORESTS and CO project launched

European forests store huge amounts of carbon, and are thus important for mitigating climate change. Forest management can increase carbon storage, but it is often unclear how this affects forest biodiversity. Answering this question is at the core of the new EU-funded research project ‘CO-Benefits and COnflicts between CO2 sequestration and biodiversity conservation in European FORESTS’, (FORESTS and CO), carried out by Dr. Francesco Maria Sabatini and Prof. Tobias Kuemmerle with the partnership of the European Forest Institute.


Older forests store more carbon than young forests, not only in the wood of living trees, but also in dead wood and leafs, and in the soil. Old forests also harbor more forest biodiversity, especially birds, beetles and fungi that depend on dead wood. “Unfortunately, we know very little about where old forests in Europe that are rich in carbon and biodiversity are found, although we are probably losing them at fast rates at the moment” Dr. Sabatini, a researcher at the Conservation Biogeography Group at Humboldt-University Berlin explains. “To change this, we have just been launched a website to foster the collaboration of forest scientists and experts, and the public at large to generate the first map of old-growth forests in Europe.”

In a second stage, the project will explore how different forest management practices may mitigate or create trade-offs between carbon storage and biodiversity conservation. “Natural forests represent a baseline for our understanding key ecosystem functions, and it seemed logical to take undisturbed forests as a starting point”, explains Dr. Sabatini, “but most forests in Europe are managed, and we will therefore study a range of biodiversity indicators, from plants to large mammals, in old-growth and managed forests, to testing whether the relationships between carbon and biodiversity vary among forest management schemes.

“In this way we hope to provide new insights into the synergies and trade-offs between carbon and biodiversity in temperate forests” says Tobias Kuemmerle, professor at the Geography Department at HU-Berlin. “This represents a great opportunity for untapping unrealized potentials to mitigate climate change and to protect forest biodiversity, and thus to proceed towards a more sustainable future’, continues Prof. Kuemmerle. 


Further information:

Forests and co website  or  https://forestsandco.wordpress.com/


Contact information

Francesco Maria Sabatini


030 2093 5394

Skype francescomaria.sabatini


Funding and support:

FORESTS and CO has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the MARIE Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 658876.

FORESTS and CO receives the support of the European Forest Institute (EFI) under the Programme ‘Sustainability and Climate Change’, the Vegetation Science Group of Masaryk University (Brno, CZ), and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (University of Vermont, USA).