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The Role of Forests in Climate Change: Nordic Experience

The objective of this project is to discuss the role of forests in Nordic countries in climate change mitigation and discuss the possible roles of forests as a part of a cost-effective climate policy.

image of The Role of Forests in Climate Change: Nordic Experience

The objective of this project is to discuss the role of forests in Nordic countries in climate change mitigation and discuss the possible roles of forests as a part of a cost-effective climate policy. The report aims to provide a comprehensive and easily digestible way to better understand the issue. The report includes a discussion on the role of forests for enhancing carbon stocks and carbon sinks in the Nordic countries. The extent of above- and below-ground biomass and their role as forests carbon sinks in Nordic forests is analysed. The use of wood in products, buildings and as bioenergy is examined. Finally the report presents emissions trading schemes from around the globe that allow offsets and credits from forest projects on them and provides an analysis on the feasibility of such a scheme for the Nordic region. The report has been commissioned by the Working Group on Environment and Economics under the Nordic Council of Ministers. The study was carried out by Indufor.

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Nordic forests and carbon

Forests are an important component of global carbon cycle. Forest vegetation absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere during the photosynthesis and accumulates in plant biomass as solid carbon in the process of growth. A significant portion of this accumulated carbon re-enters the atmosphere through plant respiration, forest fire and decay of biomass (Apps et al. 2006, Broadmeadow and Mathews 2003). Burning of plant biomass for energy also releases carbon back to the atmosphere. The carbon removed from forests through cutting also comes back to the atmosphere either in short or long term depending on where the forest products are put to use. In general, accumulation of carbon in forest growth exceeds the total release from it, and thus forests globally act as a carbon sink (see, e.g. IPCC 2007).

English

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