Future impacts of the reforestation policy on the atmospheric parameters in Ireland: a sensitivity study including heat discomfort impacts on humans and livestock

  • Arianna Valmassoi
  • Salem Gharbia
  • Silvana Di Sabatino
  • Prashant Kumar
  • Francesco Pilla
Original Article


The increase of temperature attributed to anthropogenic emissions is projected to continue in future climate scenarios. Protocols and policies are being put in place in several European countries to reduce both emissions and impact of human activities on climate. The Irish Reforestation policy is a good example of such protocols. Nevertheless, often contemplated policies do not take into account their potential effects on the atmospheric variables. This study aims to assess the influence of the increase of vegetation cover over Ireland, on surface temperature, livestock, and human heat comfort, using the Weather Research Forecast (WRF-ARW 3.7.1) model. Multi-scale numerical simulations are performed under two scenarios: (i) a “control scenario” considering no change in vegetation cover with respect to the prescribed one and (ii) a “green scenario” with increased tree cover based on the introduced Irish Reforestation policy. To simulate this policy, the cropland and vegetative mosaic is substituted with evergreen broad-leaf forest, increasing the total forest area from 19.7 to 36.2% of the land in the analyzed domain. This change in vegetation cover increases the temperature over the simulated domain up to \(0.7~^{\circ }\)C and, moreover, it enhances both human and livestock heat discomfort during the daytime, with different magnitude all over the domain. It is concluded that the reforestation policy, which is introduced to mitigate the climate warming and greenhouse gas emissions, causes a further increase in temperature along with heat discomfort to both human and livestock.


Climate change Reforestation policy Livestock Sensitivity study 


Funding information

This project has received funding from the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689954. This paper reflects the authors’ views. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Institute, Department of Planning and Environmental PolicyUniversity College DublinBelfieldIreland
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Physical SciencesUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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