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Hidden Emissions of Forest Transitions: GHG effects of socio-metabolic processes reducingpressures on forests

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 HEFT project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the HEFT project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "HEFT" about.

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Project "HEFT" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: WIEN
postcode: 1180

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Austria [AT]
 Total cost 1˙401˙941 €
 EC max contribution 1˙401˙941 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-04-01   to  2023-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITAET FUER BODENKULTUR WIEN AT (WIEN) coordinator 1˙401˙941.00


 Project objective

A forest transition, i.e. forest expansion after a long period of deforestation, has occurred in many, mostly industrialized countries. Forest transitions have recently resulted in declining rates of global net deforestation and contributed to carbon (C) sinks in terrestrial ecosystems. Studies have shown the concurrence of forest transitions and industrialization processes, but the systemic links between forest transitions, their underlying socio-metabolic processes and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been neither systematically explored nor quantified.

HEFT introduces the idea of “hidden emissions of forest transitions”, i.e. the GHG emissions from socio-metabolic processes reducing pressures on forests. Hidden emissions may stem from processes such as substitution of fuelwood by modern energy sources, intensification of agriculture, and externalization of biomass production to remote regions. Building on the concept of socio-ecological metabolism, HEFT develops a consistent methodological framework to quantify the full GHG emissions and sinks from socio-metabolic and ecological processes in the course of forest transitions, within which their hidden emissions are identified. Forest transitions in multiple contexts are analyzed at local, national and supranational scales: in Europe since c. 1850, North America since c. 1880, and South East Asia since 1980. A coarse global-scale assessment complements the regional case studies.

We will integrate sources and analytical methods from environmental and social sciences as well as the humanities to analyze context-specific trajectories and general features of socio-ecological GHG budgets and their respective socio-political contexts since the onset of forest transitions. The sound understanding of hidden emissions will be used to identify the least GHG-intensive trajectories and to draw lessons for future climate-friendly forest transitions.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Simone Gingrich, Christian Lauk, Maria Niedertscheider, Melanie Pichler, Anke Schaffartzik, Martin Schmid, Andreas Magerl, Julia Le Noë, Manan Bhan, Karlheinz Erb
Hidden emissions of forest transitions: a socio-ecological reading of forest change
published pages: 14-21, ISSN: 1877-3435, DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2019.04.005
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 38 2019-11-26
2018 Simone Gingrich, Fridolin Krausmann
At the core of the socio-ecological transition: Agroecosystem energy fluxes in Austria 1830–2010
published pages: 119-129, ISSN: 0048-9697, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.074
Science of The Total Environment 645 2019-11-26

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