Forest strategies for climate mitigation in Australia and the EU

Forest strategies for climate mitigation in Australia and the EU

Tuesday, 9 November 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

A forest in Ferny Creek, Melbourne, Australia

This seminar will consider the global potential for restoration of degraded lands and forests and specific forest related mitigation strategies in the EU and Australia.

Global potentials for ecosystem restoration 

The potential of ecosystem restoration remains underexplored as an option that minimizes land-use change, protects and enhances biodiversity, and delivers sustainably managed and productive landscapes. This presentation considers the types of ecosystem restoration that are presented in the literature, the carbon sequestration potential of these options, and the contribution to limiting temperature rise. 

EU Forest Policies

Forests have become central to the European Green Deal as they are key for enhancing biodiversity across the continent, they provide the largest source of carbon sequestration, and they are under increasing pressure due to promotion of wood products to replace energy and products. There are several initiatives under the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Forest Strategy that attempt to provide a direction for action on forests including: 

  • targets for restoration of forests
  • efforts to monitor biodiversity outside of protected areas
  • the development of guidelines for afforestation and reforestation projects and 
  • a roadmap for planting a trillion trees. 

This presentation will look at the opportunities and challenges as well as national reactions to these initiatives.

Costs and benefits of restoring Australia’s degraded terrestrial ecosystems

Since European settlement, large areas of Australia’s native vegetation have been progressively cleared for agriculture and urban settlements, with cascading negative effects to biodiversity. Restoring our most heavily degraded ecosystems with native vegetation will prevent species extinctions and help abate climate change. Our latest research sought to find out if we can elevate all of Australia’s ecosystems to have a minimum of 30% native vegetation coverage in healthy condition, while avoiding urban, industrial and primary agricultural areas. We estimate the cost associated with restoration, stewardship, and management of these areas. In addition, we outline the expected carbon abatement. We demonstrate a systematic approach to determine where cost-effective restoration actions need to occur to achieve a conservation goal. 

Such a restoration project would restore habitat, ecosystem services, and sequester carbon. This study presents a bold restoration vison, transforming the way landscapes are managed, assisting Australia to become a net zero nation in the next few decades, and creating long-term jobs in regional communities. This research shows that there are restoration-based solutions for biodiversity loss that are attainable and affordable.

The presentations from Dr Kate Dooley and Bonnie Mappin are linked below. Kelsey Perlman's presentation can be found here

EU flag

This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Event Location: 
Climate and Energy College, University of Melbourne

Kate has a PhD in climate politics from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Science from Imperial College London. She is currently a Research Fellow at Melbourne University’s Climate and Energy College. Kate has policy expertise on forest governance, climate change and carbon accounting and has almost two decades experience advising government and non-government organisations. She has been following the UN climate negotiations since 2009, focusing on the role of forests and land-use in climate mitigation and has published on rights-based approaches to ecosystem restoration, the politics of forest carbon accounting, and land-use for sustainable development. 

Kelsey Perlman is a forest and climate campaigner at Fern and has worked on EU and international climate policy for the past 6 years with experience in various political institutions including ICAO, UNFCCC and the EU. Her current focus is on forest and climate policies in the EU where she follows discussions on negative emissions, sustainable forest management and policies such as the EU Forest Strategy and the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation.

Bonnie Mappin is a biodiversity conservation scientist, with broad background in financial risk mathematics and consulting. Currently she is the Program Director of Landscape Restoration for the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. Bonnie is in the final stages of completing her PhD in ‘Ecological restoration planning for effective conservation of terrestrial biodiversity’ at the University of Queensland. Supervised by Professors Hugh Possingham and James Watson, Bonnie’s research explores gaps in ecological restoration planning to advance impact on the conservation of biodiversity. Her research advances include determining the need and priorities for restoration to achieve conservation goals, evaluating the impact of a large global restoration initiative, and creating a national plan for Australia’s restoration priorities with budgeting costs and benefits. 

Bonnie’s background includes formal qualifications in Actuarial Science and experience working in corporate financial services. She transitioned her career to life science by laying foundations with a Masters in Quantitative Biology from Imperial College London. Bonnie’s role at the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists involves working with eminent scientists and experts in the policy–science–management interface of conservation, developing technical reports, providing advice for sound environmental policy as well practical resources, knowledge, and tools to empower businesses and communities to restore Australia’s environment. 

Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.