Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use

Finnish climate change panel

“Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use”

(Press release of the Finnish Climate Change Panel)

Decision-makers, the media and the public have felt that there are contradictory messages on the climate impacts of the forest use. A new report by the Finnish Climate Change Panel illustrates that key Finnish researchers specialising in forestry are quite unanimous on the central claims related to the sustainability of bioeconomy. Discourse between researchers, decision-makers and enterprises, and the related advanced analyses are still necessary for creating a sustainable bioeconomy.

The Finnish Climate Change Panel surveyed researchers’ insights on the climate change impacts of forest use. Responses were assessed and processed by 28 researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, the Finnish Environment Institute and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The process included a joint seminar, two enquiry rounds related to claims, and approval of the document.

The main claims approved by researchers:

  • It is possible to increase wood production with forest management, but it is not possible to significantly increase the net growth of stem wood in the next decades. A significant increase can only be expected in the 2050s and after.
  • Increasing logging and wood harvesting will decrease the carbon sink and carbon storage of Finnish forests for at least forthcoming decades compared to a situation where harvesting is not increased.
  • The greatest climate benefit of wood use can be achieved with long-lasting wood-based products that preserve the carbon content of the wood in use for a long time and replace products that have a high-emission life cycle impact.
  • In the long term, replacing fossil fuels with forest energy will create climate benefits if fossil fuels are permanently replaced, forest lands are maintained and the growth of forests remains unchanged or increases in the future.
  • The model calculations representing the future development of Finnish forests produced to aid political decision-making should be completed with information such as analyses describing the different projected paths of climate change.
  • The goals set for the different ways of using forests – such as wood production, carbon sequestration, conservation and recreational use – compete with each other, so it is unlikely that these goals will be reached simultaneously.
  • A significant increase in forest harvests may lead to a clear deterioration of the forest biodiversity unless the matter is taken into account sufficiently with the practices of forest management and the forest conservation network.

According to the Climate Change Panel, the result provides a good basis for national and international discussion on the role of Nordic forests in EU policy on climate and bioeconomy. The climate-smart use of forests is an important part of creating a low-carbon economy. So that the path will be consistent and sustainable, bioeconomy decisions must be based on scientific data.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/key-researchers-unanimous-climate-impacts-forests-use/

The link to the report “Main Messages from researchers concerning the climate impacts of forest utilization” can be found here: http://www.ilmastopaneeli.fi/uploads/selvitykset_lausunnot/Ilmastopaneeli_mets%C3%A4v%C3%A4itt%C3%A4m%C3%A4t_final_englanniksi_%202017.pdf

 

Finland will attain the targets set by the Paris climate conference if the forest-based bioeconomy evolves

Luke_policy brief_

According to Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) Finland will attain the targets set by the Paris climate conference if the forest-based bioeconomy evolves and attention is paid to the material cycles of wood-based materials. The key is to further develop forest management and utilisation methods that enable using forest-based raw materials, carbon sequestration and preserving forest biodiversity.

Increasing the production and use of woodbased biomass considerably in Finland is justified in order to enable the forest-based bioeconomy. In Finland, forests play a key role in the transition from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based economy. In the future, the end-products of the forest-based bioeconomy will replace products manufactured from fossil raw materials as well as act as long-term carbon sinks. Long-lifecycle products therefore strengthen the climate benefits associated with forests.

Climate change may negatively affect forest health. The changing climate favours pests and other natural disasters. Unmanaged, dense and old forests are susceptible to insect damage and, subsequently, forest fires. In such cases, the carbon stored in the trees is released directly into the atmosphere without providing any opportunities to utilise the biomass.

Luke’s policy recommendation examines the impacts of the growing use of forest and a changing climate on forest’s ability to sequester carbon. When increasing the sustainable use of forests, the diversity of nature and other uses of forests must be taken into account.” (Luke News)

The original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/increasing-sustainable-use-of-forests-and-the-carbon-neutrality-targets-of-the-paris-agreement-can-be-combined/

The link to the policy brief publication can be found here: http://jukuri.luke.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/535292/luke_policy_brief_1_2016_eng.pdf?sequence=6