The European Union will use satellites to prevent the destruction of forests, as they have become vital in absorbing carbon dioxide in the fight against climate change, reports Bloomberg, taken over by Agerpres.
The EU executive is expected to present on Wednesday a series of plans aimed at establishing a forest monitoring system, which will use information provided by the Copernicus satellite network and other sources, according to a draft document consulted by Bloomberg. Also, the member states will be encouraged to draw up forestry plans for the next 50 years, the quoted source says.
The satellites would fill gaps in data collection, such as measuring the impact of drought or damage from pests such as the bark beetle.
Forests and peatlands absorb millions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, both from human sources and from wildfires, as global warming worsens. Protecting these natural resources is a crucial element in the EU’s plans to reach climate neutrality by mid-century.
“Forests and other wooded areas in the EU are increasingly stressed by climate change and directly or indirectly by human activity. Hazards such as wildfires, pests, droughts and heat waves often compound each other and are likely to lead to more frequent and intense catastrophic events, often across national borders,” states the working document, which is may undergo some changes.
Greece, Spain and Portugal have been hit by severe forest fires this summer, raising the risk that major cities such as Athens will be left deserted. In parallel, EU rules aimed at restoring nature, including forests, have been heavily criticized due to concerns that they could affect food production in the region.