Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Press release 16.03.2006

Wood products mitigate climate change

Wood products and forests are important in climate change mitigation. Carbon can be bound to organic tree biomass stocks in forests and wood products, and the consumption of wood could be increased as a raw material and as bioenergy. Wood can also indirectly reduce fossil carbon dioxide emissions, when bioenergy is used instead of fossil fuels or when wood is used as a substitute for materials that generate excessive emissions during their production. If wooden materials can be recycled into bioenergy at the end of their life cycles, the indirect emission reductions can be even greater.

Case studies have shown that fostering the use of wood in construction is a promising means for climate change mitigation when wood can be used in place of materials that generate large-volume emissions. In some cases, the emission reduction from fossil coal gained by increased use of wood can greatly outweigh the wooden material’s own carbon content.

Climate change mitigation activities are likely to improve the competitive position of wood products that are expected to provide maximum indirect emission reductions. Examination of carbon balances in wood conversion chains can be used as a tool for developing such products.

The research was a sub-project of the ”Finnish forests and wood products in climate change mitigation” consortium funded by the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Forest Research Institution, Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, and Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, as well as Metla Project 3323. The results are presented in the final seminar of Metla’s HMS research programme.

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