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Wood, Paper, Printing

Harvested wood products

Earth in a wood box © Surflifes - Fotolia.com

Carbon storage in harvested wood products (wood and paper products) can spread the benefits provided by forests in terms of carbon sequestration. Its role in mitigating climate change should thus be enhanced.

According to the IPCC Guidelines [446 KB] , one m³ of roundwood stores 0.225 tonnes of carbon.

Wood products are an integral part of the managed forest ecosystem and the forest sector carbon (C) cycle.

They play three roles in the forest sector C cycle, as:

  1. a physical pool of carbon
  1. a substitute for more energy-intensive materials
  1. a raw material for energy generation.

Options for increasing the physical sequestration of carbon in wood products include:

  • increasing the consumption and production of wood products
  • improving the quality of wood products
  • improving processing efficiency
  • increasing recycling and the reuse of wood and wood products.

While C sequestration in wood products can reach saturation, the C benefits of materials substitution can be sustained. Assuming the material substitution effect of 0.28tC/m³ of a final wood product and a flux corresponding to a roundwood volume of 0.9 billion m³ annually, the substitution impact of industrial wood products may be as large as 0.25GtC/yr. Although this estimate is highly uncertain, it is possible that for wood products the substitution impact is larger than the sequestration impact. The substitution comes in addition to the sinks in wood products mentioned before.

Working group "Climate change / forest products"

The Advisory Committee on Forestry and Forest-based Industries launched a series of sessions focusing on the role of wood products for mitigating climate change. During the first phase, scientific data on carbon accounting in wood products were reviewed. During the second, initiatives at national level to increase wood consumption and wood substitution were presented and discussed.

The Comprehensive report on the role of forest products for climate change mitigation pdf - 103 KB [103 KB] was produced on the basis of work carried out in the five above-mentioned sessions. Besides the analysis of the role of forest products in climate change mitigation and the scientific basis for its assessment and accounting, it contains the description and analysis of initiatives at national level carried out in France, the UK, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Belgium. It also contains the European initiative launched by the Nordic Timber Council in cooperation with the various European Timber Councils. You will find detailed summary reports of the five sessions in the annex pdf - 843 KB [843 KB] to the final report.

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