Forest Products and Greenhouse Gases
All wood is made of fifty percent carbon, absorbed from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
This fact demonstrates a tree's potential to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into stable and densely packed wood fibre.
The durable nature of wood fibre allows for the storage of carbon over years or even centuries when it's used in structures, furniture and even paper. The lifetime of this carbon storage will be determined by a range of factors, including the period of use, product type and how it is disposed of.
The low energy cost of producing wood products in contrast to common alternatives also makes wood a comparatively greenhouse gas friendly product.
For more information, click on this link to the Forest and Wood Products Association.
Firewood and Woody Biomass and their Role in Greenhouse Gas Reduction
The production of firewood and biofuels from a sustainably managed forest has a significant greenhouse gas benefit.
Both fossil fuels and wood release CO2 when burnt, yet only the CO2 from wood can be recycled by growing more trees. A renewable wood resource can replace the need for fossil fuels by producing multiple products, including electricity, heat and transport fuels.
Further still, research has shown that if plantations are established on previously cleared land, grown, harvested and used for bioenergy, a net increase in the amount of carbon stored is possible. This occurs as the growing plantation removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, stores it onsite, is used to replace fossil fuels and then regrown to absorb carbon dioxide again.
Figure 1: Comparison of CO2 released per unit of energy produced (kg CO2 kWhr3) for different sources of domestic heating.
For more information on bioenergy please see the Plantations for Energy Fact Sheet.