FINLAND RESEARCH REPORT: CLIMATE SMART FORESTRY COULD REDUCE EUíS CLIMATE EMISSIONS BY 20%
By Climate Smart Forestry the researchers mean reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, enhancing forest resilience to climate change and increasing forest productivity and economic welfare based on forestry. At the same time, the carbon storage of forests would remain the same or even increase.
The report Climate Smart Forestry in Europe, published tomorrow in Brussels by the Think Forest forum of the European Forest Institute, reiterates the demand, voiced in November by the International Panel on Climate Change, that the use of fossil raw materials must be reduced. However, as humans are compelled to use natural resources, we have to find a way to replace the fossils. Climate Smart Forestry provides one means of implementing the IPCC’s demand. It involves not only increasing the growth and carbon sinks of forests, but also active forestry and the resource-efficient production and consumption of wood-based products. According to the group of researchers, these goals should be global. In the EU, for example, Climate Smart Forestry could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by one fifth by 2050, while simultaneously creating sustainable wellbeing. The researchers point out that while mitigating the climate change is important, it cannot be the only factor determining the use of forests. This was also mentioned in the IPCC report: climate policy must be adapted to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The better the climate policy responds to other human needs as well, the easier it will be for citizens to support it. Simple solutions are often wrong Owing to the press of time emphasized by the IPCC, demands have been voiced to reduce the use of forests, as well as demands for additional forest protection. This solution is tempting in its simplicity, compared to the complexity of the problem. The researchers quote the American journalist, satirist and social critic Henry Louis Mencken: ”For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple ‒ and wrong.” The forest area of Europe has long been increasing, as has the timber stock per hectare, both in highly and poorly forested countries. In the three most forested countries of the EU, Finland, Spain and Sweden, the timber stock – that is, the carbon storage – has, due to forestry activities, increased by 68, 34 and 39 percent respectively between the 1970s until today. The universal driver of forest harvesting is global demand. If loggings are decreased in Europe, trees will be logged somewhere else; that is, in areas where forestry and the production of wood-based products is, according to the researchers, almost always less sustainable than in Europe, from the perspective of both climate change and biodiversity. If loggings in Europe should actually decrease, atmospheric carbon would increase almost immediately. Forests should especially not be logged in regions where the forest area is already decreasing. As regards such regions, the EU should aim to assist in forest regeneration, planting trees and increasing know-h.
For more information contact Mr Hannes Mäntyranta: FINNISH FOREST Association Salomonkatu 17-A / FI-00100 HELSINKI, Finland / Ph. +358 40 5866179 /E-mail: email@example.com