Choice of forest map has implications for policy analysis: A case study on the EU biofuel target

Seebach, L., McCallum, I. ORCID:, Fritz, S. ORCID:, Kindermann, G. ORCID:, Leduc, S., Bottcher, H., & Fuss, S. (2012). Choice of forest map has implications for policy analysis: A case study on the EU biofuel target. Environmental Science & Policy 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.04.010.

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Project: Earth Observation for monitoring and assessment of the environmental impact of energy use (ENERGEO, FP7 226364), European approach to GEOSS (EUROGEOSS, FP7 226487)


With the increasing availability of European and global forest maps, users are facing the difficult choice to select the most appropriate map for their purposes. Many of these maps are potential input datasets for forest-related applications for the European Union (EU), due to their spatial extent and harmonised approach at the European level. However, they possess different characteristics in terms of spatial detail or thematic accuracy. Little attention has been paid to the effect of these characteristics on simulation models and the resultant policy implications.

In this study we tested whether the choice of a forest map has substantial influence on model output, i.e. if output differences can be related to the input differences. A sensitivity analysis of the spatially explicit Global Forest Model (G4M) was performed using four different forest maps: the panEuropean high resolution forest/non-forest map (FMAP), the Corine Land Cover (CLC), the Calibrated Europan Forest Map (CEFM) and the Global Land Cover (GLC). Finally, the impact of potential differences owing to input datasets on decisionmaking was tested in a selected case study: reaching the EU 1% biofel target through enhanced utilization of forest biomass.

The sensitivity analysis showed that the choice of the forest cover map has a major influence on the model outputs in particular at the country-level, while having less influence at the EU27 level. Differences between the input datasets are strongly reflected in the outputs. Similarly, depending on the choice of the input alternate options for decisionmaking were found within the hypothesized biofuel target (case study), demonstrating a substantial value of information. In general, it was demonstrated that input maps are the major driver of decision-making if forest resource outputs of the mode are their basis. Improvement of the input forest map would result in immediate benefit for a better decision-making basis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: European forest maps; Sensitivity analysis; G4M; EU biofuel targets; Wood-based biofuels; Simulation models
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Environmental Science & Policy; 22:13-24 (October 2012)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 05:00

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