TECNALIA leads the development of new climate services to manage forest areas against the impacts of climate change

9 July 2021

Climate change is having significant economic and environmental impacts on the forestry sector, and causing losses in its ecosystem services.

TECNALIA is collaborating with the European Forest Institute, Green Cube and Vizzuality in a market study to evaluate the potential of new climate services for the forestry sector, based on climate data. A free, open-access prototype application has been developed, called Forest-Forward, which will make it possible for all actors involved in forest management and exploitation to learn about the impacts of climate change on the distribution of tree species.

A market study assessed the potential application of earth observation (EO) and climate data in the forestry sector, focusing on the Climate Change Services offered by Copernicus (C3S), trying to answer the following questions: What is the market demand for climate services? What are the needs of users in the forestry sector for services integrating climate data with non-climate data?

A broad survey of actors in the sector was carried out to answer these questions, some of them consumers of climate information and others only aware of it. This survey targeted areas ranging from small private holdings to large state-owned forestry companies, including areas such as genetics and forest restoration, forest management, disaster management, pest control and urban forestry. Their needs were collected through surveys, interviews and thematic workshops.

Opportunities to develop new services

The most interesting opportunities identified relate to a demand for services that integrate climate data with non-climate data. This highlights the importance of terrestrial, atmospheric and socio-economic data for the forestry sector, and allows the Copernicus data service to continue to link its different programmes such as C3S, CAMS and CLMS.

About the Forest Forward application

The Forest Forward application communicates information through maps and graphs that synthesise and facilitate access to high-quality scientific data acquired from the Copernicus Climate Data Service (C3S). Forest Forward assesses how suitable habitats for a species will change in a particular country.

The impact of climate change on the forestry sector affects water availability and the increase of pests and diseases. This affects the growth of trees, the distribution of certain species, and their mortality. Recent extreme events such as droughts and more extreme heat waves have led to a widespread decline in woodland areas, and a decrease in forest productivity. Forests are important carbon reservoirs. They host the majority of land-based biodiversity and provide a wide range of ecosystem services such as the production of goods, recreation and the protection of soil and water.

Further information

 *This study was carried out within the framework of a Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) contract. C3S is one of the six services of the European Union's Copernicus programme, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission.