Institute of

Forest Ecosystems

Emissions due to forest fires

Areas affected by wildfires
Areas affected by wildfires between 1990 and 2013. (© )

Due to international commitments under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, Germany annually compiles National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The Institute for Forest Ecosystems is in charge of greenhouse gas reporting for the German forests, focusing on the survey of carbon stocks and their changes. Thereby the five pools (stocks): above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, deadwood, litter and soil are considered. In addition to the annual emissions and removals of carbon dioxide (CO2) other greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), are reported. Forest fires can be a source of those gases.

The methodology for estimating greenhouse gas emissions released during forest fires is insufficient. The objective of this project is to improve the situation by collecting available data from various sources and by developing appropriate methods for calculating emissions resulting from forest fires. In addition, the existing models for data collection and emissions calculation are compared and evaluated with data resulting from international studies.