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Developing support for monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry

Point of contact
Ali Nadir Arslan
Finnish Meteorological Institute
Erik Palménin aukio 1
FI-00560 Helsinki
Phone: +358-50-3203386


The action wants to support monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) in selected Member States (MS). The legal basis is the new EU Regulation on (EU) 2018/841 on greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)[1] which requires MS to improve their systems for reporting. Article 18 (4) of this regulation and Annex V (Part 3) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999[2] require EU Member States to employ methodologies for monitoring of land use conversion according to IPCC Approach 3 (geospatially-explicit) and at least tier 2 (nationally relevant emission calculations) for key categories of emissions and removals. Thus, the objectives of the action are:

  1. to support the MS in monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) taking into account relevant regulation systems and existing reporting systems in the MS;
  2. to develop a test-version of pan-European system using Copernicus data and services to deliver improved estimates of changes in carbon stocks and resulting GHG emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry;
  3. to carry out a pilot study on the emerging methods for developing these estimates, building largely on Copernicus data and services such as CLC+ components and Sentinel imagery, with the aim of capitalizing LULUCF monitoring with existing pan-EU data sets;
  4. to evaluate these integrated national estimates at selected test regions using long-term time series of maps derived from satellite data;
  5. to analyse the role of Copernicus data and benefit they could contribute.

The proposed methodology on monitoring and validating land use patterns and changes at the MS and pan-EU levels for LULUCF will be based on using Copernicus satellite data products CLC+ components as methodological basis. The action will assess which technical and definitional issues need to be solved for estimating changes in the reporting of carbon stock under the LULUCF Regulation (EU) 2018/841 based upon IPCC guidelines for land use categorization and land change tracking. For this purpose, a dedicated operational service using Copernicus Land monitoring data and satellite information will use MS reference information (if available) for validation.

The work will build on and augment previous work undertaken by the EEA such as integrating the outcomes of previous and existing EEA work (ETC/CME and ETC/ULS work) as well as the forthcom-ing workshop.

To achieve objectives of the Action, the following steps will be taken:

  • Look at existing methods and work done by EEA and JRC as part of the EU inventory system QA/QC for reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change (such as permanent pasture to arable) and deforestation (LULUCF) currently employed at the national level by Member States.
  • Assess the potential use of European Copernicus Program data for developing jointly a standardized, robust set of protocols leading to the implementation of improved methodologies for use in national reporting.
  • Prepare maps of LULUCF for NUTS2 for the regional Member States through scientifically sound technologies. As it is a pilot / demonstrator project the pilot site maps will be developed for the administration division (NUTS2) as required by MS. The frequency: LULUCF will be done 2 times with the few years gap to show the changes (Copernicus HRL forest product 2012-2015).
  • Identification of pilot sites, from each participating country, for GHG-estimation based on Copernicus data and relating it to nationally derived estimates.
  • Development of automated, standardized approaches for investing satellite data as input for LULUCF mapping validation and reporting.
  • Land use mapping and land change detection using existing Local Land Monitoring Coperni-cus products (i.e. Sentinel-2) with topographic information at the MS level.
  • Land cover maps and changes obtained will be compared at a spatially explicit level according to S2GLC approach elaborated in frame of S2GLC (Sentinel-2 Global Land Cover).
  • Results of LC and LU classification will be used as input to change detection analysis for val-idating former results at the MS level and general trends of change. In addition, the proposal will explore the potential for unsupervised change detection using multivariate alteration detection (MAD) transformation and the Random Forest classifier to first derive a forest/non-forest map. These will be undertaken for a pilot area in Poland using the following classes: afforested land (new planted forest), deforested land, managed cropland, managed grassland, wetlands and forests. The CLC and High Resolution Layers (HRLs) will be applied and compared the results to temporal changes of land use/land cover patterns detected which will be also assessed using time series of satellite information and validated using the multi-temporal Sentinel-2 data in combination with topographic information. Also, the biomass assessment from Copernicus data and products (from Land Monitoring Service –ex. LAI) will be assessed for the pilot and verified by random in-situ data.
  • We highlight in this proposal the emerging, complementary approaches that are available for monitoring LULUCF related emissions at a pan-European level, including atmospheric GHG satellite data and top-down approach by atmospheric inverse modelling that can be used to support and verify national inventories. This represents one of the most striking steps of this project by providing an overview of methods and some initial results from a top-down approach to estimate LULUCF CO2 emissions and subsequently compare these with the emissions and removals reported by the LULUCF inventories. The important question is at what scale/level the top-down estimates are going to be made available and can these be defined in such a way that these can easily be compared at the spatial and temporal scale provided by the LULUCF inventory data. This will be answered during implementation of the Action.
  • The Action will address how satellite observations can monitor carbon stocks and stock changes over several years when carbon stock changes are associated with land use change, specifically taking into account how to deal with harvested wood products (HWP). With support from new Copernicus GHG satellite observations and modelling –based datasets the verification method can be applied at national or sub-national level. This will be demonstrated for the participating countries.
  • The temporal coverage will be extended to multiple decades by applying time series analysis of satellite information obtained from older data sources in order to develop long time series for LULUCF. Further, versatile use of Copernicus data sets related to vegetation activity will be used to support GHG removal and emission estimates. In order to link the top-down methods to ground truth, we will combine the atmospheric data - based GHG balance estimates to pan-European geospatially explicit land use change and emission data for land use categories such as forests, croplands, grasslands and wetlands.
  • Inclusion of relevant stakeholders and MS authorities responsible for reporting GHG into the development of the scientific monitoring system to explore and respond to MS reporting agency needs.
  • Organizing workshops with stakeholders and MS authorities highlighting the opportunities of incorporating Copernicus data for modelling and reporting GHG emissions and removals from land use land use change and forestry, clearly indicating the outputs (reports, maps, data, etc.) and how to integrate them into the current MS monitoring systems.
  • EEA and JRC will be involved closely with this Action to make sure the best use is made of their experience in monitoring, reporting and verification as well as close connections will be kept with the general development of CLMS products.

Output and Results

  1. A report, complementary to existing documents, on technical needs in regions within MS for meeting technical requirements of reporting Green House Gases (GHG) emissions and se-questration and LULUCF.
  2. A technical report detailing a standardised pan-European approach in support of MS and EU LULUCF reporting for existing and forthcoming data integration, including needs for time series consistency, data transformations and gap filling.
  3. Needs for LULUCF for the countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Spain, Bulgaria, Finland and Ireland and finding the best solution for LULUCF methodology and regulations for the best presentation to the Reporting Agencies in those countries. The commonalities and differences in reporting between regions will be identified. A report with available methods and datasets for improving the current existing methodologies will be provided.
  4. National-level meeting and training for relevant stakeholders in the MS for implementation of Copernicus data and products for monitoring LULUCF and presentation of carbon stock changes and furthermore GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF. Results including the maps of LULUCF for selected NUTS2 (Administration Division) in Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Re-public, Finland, Spain, Ireland.

[1] REGULATION (EU) 2018/841 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 30 May 2018 on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework, and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU (Text with EEA relevance).

[2] REGULATION (EU) 2018/1999 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Text with EEA relevance).