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The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was established to ensure the continued and accurate delivery of the forestry component of the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI), a statutory Government requirement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to build the evidence around forestry and climate change mitigation, and to enhance the ability of FR to provide evidence to support policy-making decisions around ongoing and emerging topics on forestry and climate change mitigation.  

The MOU Programme will run for 3 years from 2022-2025. The Programme is funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Research objectives

The MOU Programme has five main objectives: 

  1. Research to support UK mitigation activities 
  2. Upgrade to the CARBINE model and other forestry models 
  3. Research to improve estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 
  4. Build capacity at FR to ensure the GHGI is maintained to 2030 and beyond 
  5. Build capacity to understand the international opportunities to alter forest land management 

The Programme is divided into three Work Areas: 

Work Area 1 Climate Change Mitigation 

Work Area 2 Forestry Models 

Work Area 3 GHG Reporting

Work Area 1: Research to support UK mitigation activities

 Work Area Lead: Ewan Mackie 

Work Area 1 covers those tasks in the MOU that involve research to develop or improve evidence of the potential impacts on GHG emissions of policy interventions and specific measures aimed at mitigating climate change. This research aims to provide evidence to support policy decision-making around ongoing and emerging topics on forestry and climate change mitigation. 

Three tasks in this work area involve the collection and derivation of essential underpinning data and evidence on the impacts of specific mitigation measures on GHG balances: specifically short rotation forestry (SRF), afforestation measures, and soil carbon responses to forest management interventions. The fourth task is intended to improve the representation of forest management interventions and afforestation/reforestation activities in projections of GHG emissions and removals. 

Work Area 2: Activity to improve UK forestry models

 Work Area Lead: Paul Henshall 

Work Area 2 covers those tasks in the MOU related to ways of improving UK forestry models. Two tasks in this work area involve improvements to CARBINE – the model used both for meeting the Government’s international commitments to reporting GHG emissions from forest land, and for modelling the impact of policy on the projections of GHG emissions. The first of these tasks (Improvements to CARBINE Projections) is divided into three areas: 

  1. Using information from the first and second cycles of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) to refine estimates from CARBINE by comparing verified data from the NFI with CARBINE projections for the GHG inventory. 
  2. Investigating whether the inclusion of data relating to mixed-age and mixed-species stands could have a significant impact on the GHG inventory and projections.  
  3. Investigating the potential impact of the changing climate on forest carbon stock changes. 

The second task is to review and redesign CARBINE’s model code to make it more usable and faster running, changing to a modular system whilst permitting computing methods such as distributed processing to be exploited. 

Further tasks in this work area look at forest models other than CARBINE and global forest modelling. One project is concerned with consolidating and realising the value of the outputs of an EPSRC-funded SUPERGEN bioenergy hub project which ran from 2016-18, “Measurement and Analysis of bioenergy greenhouse gases: Integrating GHGs into LCAs and the UK Bioenergy Value Chain Modelling Environment” (MAGLUE).  

Work Area 3: Activity to improve reporting of UK GHG emissions

 Work Area lead: Robert Matthews 

Work Area 3 covers those tasks in the MOU relating to the improved reporting of UK GHG emissions. Current work is divided into three strands: 

  1. Improving estimates of emissions associated with afforestation activities, exploring the impact of methods used to prepare land for afforestation/restocking and updating our estimates of the associated soil carbon changes – the results of which can then inform both CARBINE and future grant schemes. 
  2. Exploring both the feasibility of including trees outside of woodlands (TOW) within the GHGI, and examining how that would affect the assessment of carbon storage and the potential of that land to contribute to net zero. 
  3. Identifying the current and future resource requirements to de-risk the provision of the forestry component of the UK GHGI. 
Funding & partners
  • Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
Kate Beauchamp staff profile picture.
Kate Beauchamp

Programme Manager