Climate mitigation and intensified forest management in Norway: To what extent are surface waters safeguarded?

Ambio. 2020 Nov;49(11):1736-1746. doi: 10.1007/s13280-020-01357-1. Epub 2020 Sep 12.


While the role of forestry in mitigating climate change is increasingly subject to political commitment, other areas, such as water protection, may be at risk. In this study, we ask whether surface waters are sufficiently safeguarded in relation to the 2015 launch of a series of measures to intensify forest management for mitigation of climate change in Norway. First, we assess how impacts on water are accounted for in existing regulations for sustainable forestry. Secondly, we provide an overview of the impacts of forestry on water quality relevant to three support schemes: afforestation on new areas, increased stocking density in existing forests, and forest fertilisation. Lastly, we assess the uncertainties that exist with regard to surface waters in the implementation of these measures. We find that the safeguards in place are adequate to protect water resources at the point of initiation, but there is a large degree of uncertainty as to the long-term effect of these mitigation measures.

Keywords: Afforestation; Climate mitigation; Fertilisation; Forest management; Intensification; Surface waters.

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Forestry*
  • Forests*
  • Norway
  • Uncertainty