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UN says that growing more forest and the use of long-lasting forest products are currently the most effective forms of carbon capture

Published: 12 October 2017

Forest products markets are doing well, with improvements forecasted to continue into next year although barriers to cross-border trade are an ongoing concern for the forest products industry, according to the market statement at Las2017, the Joint Session of the Committee of Forests and the Forest Industry of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the European Forestry Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

The Market Discussion at Las2017, included expert presentations and focused on current forest products trends. During the discussion, there was an emphasis on the importance of forests and wood products to mitigate climate change and, more broadly, on providing products that meet society’s desire to live sustainably. Wooden buildings have great potential for storing carbon as well as reducing carbon emissions over the entire life-cycle of the structure.  Iain Macdonald, an expert on tall wooden buildings, pointed out that wood has significant advantages over concrete and steel, “it takes five times more energy to produce a tonne of concrete and twenty-four times more energy to produce a tonne of steel, as compared to a tonne of wood.”

Werner Kurz, a scientist specialised in carbon accounting, pointed out that there are substantial global investments in the development of carbon capture technology. Currently, however, growing forests and use of long-lasting forest products are the most effective way of capturing carbon. Dr. Kurz stated that ‘effective mitigation strategies involve sustainable forest management and the use of long-lasting products for carbon storage and substitution of carbon intensive materials’. This message resonated with the delegates, the forest industry and stakeholders present at the session.

Delegates agreed that sustainable forest management and the use of sustainable wood products is a win-win situation for forest industries to prosper and to contribute to sustainable consumption and production.

Related links:

Market statement and forecast tables

The Forest Products Annual Market Review (FPAMR)

Las2017 Website and Documents

European Forest Week

UNECE Forests Portal

EFC homepage

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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