The role of the land-use sector in climate change mitigation

Decreasing deforestation and increasing afforestation help Finland achieve climate commitments

In the new LULUCF accounts, the greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and sinks created by afforestation are fully taken into account – contrary to forest sinks. The role of the land-use sector will therefore be emphasised in climate policy after 2020. Decreasing deforestation of peatlands will especially benefit the climate.

Deforestation can be decreased, among other things, by charging a fee for land-use change or tackling the reasons for deforestation. Agricultural land with low productivity and only minor importance for food production may qualify for afforestation. Afforestation potential can be estimated using the PeltoOptimi tool developed by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Natural Resources Institute Finland undertook a project called “Potential of land-use measures in climate change mitigation (MISA)” as part of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities. The project gathered new information on land-use change and analysed the reasons for them, collected information on effective practical measures the land-use sector can take to reduce the effects of climate change, and evaluated feasible policy instruments for the promotion of these measures. Information about climate benefits and disadvantages was produced to support land-use planning and policy. Furthermore, the longterm potential of the land-use sector to decrease greenhouse gas emissions was estimated and the need for the development of greenhouse gas inventories to consider practical measures for the land-use sector were discussed.