On the trade-offs and synergies between forest carbon sequestration and substitution
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
AbstractForest biomass can be used in two different ways to limit the growth of the atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations: (1) to provide negative emissions through sequestration of carbon into forests and harvested wood products or (2) to avoid GHG emissions through substitution of non-renewable raw materials with wood. We study the trade-offs and synergies between these strategies using three different Finnish national-level forest scenarios between 2015 and 2044 as examples. We
... nstrate how GHG emissions change when wood harvest rates are increased. We take into account CO2 and other greenhouse gas flows in the forest, the decay rate of harvested wood products and fossil-based CO2 emissions that can be avoided by substituting alternative materials with wood derived from increased harvests. We considered uncertainties of key parameters by using stochastic simulation. According to our results, an increase in harvest rates in Finland increased the total net GHG flow to the atmosphere virtually certainly or very likely, given the uncertainties and time frame considered. This was because the increased biomass-based CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere together with decreased carbon sequestration into the forest were very likely higher than the avoided fossil-based CO2 emissions. The reverse of this conclusion would require that compared to what was studied in this paper, the share of long-living wood products in the product mix would be higher, carbon dioxide from bioenergy production would be captured and stored, and reduction in forest carbon equivalent net sink due to wood harvesting would be minimized.