IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

Technology research, development, deployment, diffusion and transfer

The deployment, diffusion and transfer of technologies such as improved forest-management systems, forest practices and processing technologies including bioenergy, are key to improving the economic and social viability of the different mitigation options. Governments could play a critical role in providing targeted financial and technical support, promoting the participation of communities, institutions and NGOs (high agreement, much evidence) [9.8].

Long-term outlook

Uncertainties in the carbon cycle, the uncertain impacts of climate change on forests and its many dynamic feedbacks, time-lags in the emission-sequestration processes, as well as uncertainties in future socio-economic paths (e.g., to what extent deforestation can be substantially reduced in the coming decades) cause large variations in future carbon balance projections for forests.

Overall, it is expected that in the long-term, mitigation activities will help increase the carbon sink, with the net balance depending on the region. Boreal primary forests will either be small sources or sinks depending on the net effect of enhancement of growth versus a loss of soil organic matter and emissions from increased fires. Temperate forests will probably continue to be net carbon sinks, favoured also by enhanced forest growth due to climate change. In the tropical regions, human-induced land-use changes are expected to continue to drive the dynamics for decades. Beyond 2040, depending very particularly on the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing forest degradation and deforestation, tropical forests may become net sinks, depending on the influence of climate change. Also, in the medium to long term, commercial bioenergy is expected to become increasingly important.

Developing optimum regional strategies for climate change mitigation involving forests will require complex analyses of the trade-offs (synergies and competition) in land-use between forestry and other land-uses, trade-offs between forest conservation for carbon storage and other environmental services such as biodiversity and watershed conservation and sustainable forest harvesting to provide society with carbon-containing fibre, timber and bioenergy resources, and trade-offs among utilization strategies of harvested wood products aimed at maximizing storage in long-lived products, recycling, and use for bioenergy [9.9].