Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)


The rate of build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere can be reduced by taking advantage of the fact that atmospheric CO2 can accumulate as carbon in vegetation and soils in terrestrial ecosystems. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere is referred to as a "sink". Human activities impact terrestrial sinks, through land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities, consequently, the exchange of CO2 (carbon cycle) between the terrestrial biosphere system and the atmosphere is altered.

The role of LULUCF activities in the mitigation of climate change has long been recognized. Mitigation can be achieved through activities in the LULUCF sector that increase the removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere or decrease emissions by sources leading to an accumulation of carbon stocks. An important feature of LULUCF activities in this context is their potential reversibility hence, non-permanence of the accumulated carbon stocks.

Forests present a significant global carbon stock accumulated through growth of trees and an increase in soil carbon. Estimates made for Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2015) show that the world's forests and other wooded lands store more than 485 gigatonnes (1 Gt=1 billion tonnes) of carbon, 260 Gt in the biomass (53 percent), 37 Gt in dead wood and litter (8 percent) and 189 Gt in soil (39 percent). While sustainable management, planting and rehabilitation of forests can conserve or increase forest carbon stocks, deforestation, degradation and poor forest management do reduce carbon stocks. For the world as a whole, carbon stocks in forest biomass decreased by an estimated 0.22 Gt annually during the period 2011-2015. This was mainly because of a reduction in the global forest area.

Topics relating to LULUCF

LULUCF sector under the Convention

LULUCF activities under the Kyoto Protocol

Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries

Cooperation with other organizations

The emergence of and continuing significance of issues related to LULUCF has stimulated cooperation with many organizations and institutions with forestry and agriculture experiences.

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The UNFF is an intergovernmental process with the objective of promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. It allows forest policy dialogue facilitated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Forestry Department of FAO has considerable experience in, among others, building capacity in developing countries and in assessing the global status of forests. Its work includes the publication of the Global Forest Resources Assessment as a contribution to knowledge on the state of the world's forests.

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). The CPF is s an innovative interagency partnership on forests comprising 14 international organizations, institutions and secretariats that have substantial programmes on forests. The mission of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests is to promote sustainable management of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.