EU Forests

The EU has a total forest area of approximately 177 million ha (around 40 % of the EU territory), of which 130 million ha are available for wood supply and the production of non-wood goods and services (cork, resins, berries, mushroom, hunting for example). The forest-based industries are a very important EU economic sector (woodworking industries, pulp and paper, printing industries), with a production value of € 365 billion, and an added value of around € 120 billion create more than 3 million jobs. They play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and the fight against climate change. The demand for wood, and for wood fuel in the context of increasing renewable energy demand, is a strong stimulus for increasing forest growth and productivity and for improving management practices.

 

Climate Change

Agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change and is in return dramatically affected by climatic instability. Agriculture and food production represent 40% of the total global industrial energy demand, while global agriculture represents 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock ruminants alone provide a major portion of these emissions. Indeed nitrous oxide and methane emissions are projected to increase by 50% by 2030 due to the growing global demand for meat and biomass for industrial and energy purposes. Research and innovation will aim at increasing the adaptive capacity of plants, animals and production systems to cope with rapidly changing climate conditions and environments, as well as increasingly scarce resources.

This will include dealing with diversification and specific adaptation, mixed farming systems and land use practices, adaptation of plants, animals and cropping systems to biotic and abiotic stress, conservation and use of biodiversity, as well as specific climate change mitigation and stress adaptation measures at farm, forest and landscape level to water scarcity, heat, highly saline soils, new diseases and pests, etc, and in deploying different agricultural practices including biotechnology as an enabling technology (from marker assisted breeding to GMOs) In addition research will promote the sustainable management of soils, exploit advances in conservation agriculture and reduce green house gas emissions from agriculture and forestry activities.

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