Forests and climate change (LULUCF policy)

The use of fossil fuels is the reason behind climate change. We need alternatives for emission intensive raw materials and fossil energy. The sustainable use of renewable biomass as wood is one solution.

Growing forests absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. CO2 absorbed by trees is stored in forests or products. Burning or decaying trees release the carbon that was previously stored during growth. The forest carbon cycle does not add CO2 emissions because it really is a cycle. In the wider context of the circular economy, looping the carbon cycle makes full sense.

Growing forest resources help to mitigate climate change because they actually cool down the climate. Forest resources are increasing in Europe. The annual harvest is clearly less than the annual increment. This has caused European forests to become a substantial carbon sink over recent decades.

Thanks to long-term investments in forest management there is an increased harvesting potential. This achievement required hard work and both private and public money. The forests resources were grown to be utilized in a sustainable manner and thus enhancing growth, livelihood, employment and transformation to a bio-economy.

Younger and actively managed forests have many climate benefits compared to ageing forests: they are less vulnerable to damage (storms, fires, insects, fungi); they are effective sinks as they grow fast; and they enable the increased use of wood biomass for a variety of products and renewable energy.

Policies should encourage active forestry to keep “the green forest engine running”. Forest growth and vigorous photosynthesis can be enhanced by means of active forest management.

Additional information

Ahti Fagerblom

Manager, Energy and Climate Policy

+358 40 820 9763