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Review article2017Peer reviewed

Climate change effects of forestry and substitution of carbon-intensive materials and fossil fuels

Gustavsson, Leif; Haus, Sylvia; Lundblad, Mattias; Lundström, Anders; Ortiz, Carina; Sathre, Roger; Truong, Nguyen Le; Wikberg, Per-Erik


We estimate the climate effects of directing forest management in Sweden towards increased carbon storage in forests with more land set-aside for protection, or towards increased forest production for the substitution of carbon-intensive materials and fossil fuels, relative to a reference case of current forest management. We develop various scenarios of forest management and biomass use to estimate the carbon balances of the forest systems, including ecological and technological components, and their impacts on the climate in terms of radiative forcing. The scenario with increased set-aside area and the current level of forest residue harvest resulted in lower cumulative carbon emissions compared to the reference case for the first 90 years, but then showed higher emissions as reduced forest harvest led to higher carbon emissions from energy and material systems. For the reference case of current forest management, increased harvest of forest residues gave increased climate benefits. The most climatically beneficial alternative, expressed as reduced cumulative radiative forcing, in both the short and long terms is a strategy aimed at.high forest production, high residue recovery rate, and high efficiency utilization of harvested biomass. Active forest management with high harvest levels and efficient forest product utilization will provide more climate benefit, compared to reducing harvest and storing more carbon in the forest. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Biomass residues; Forest management; Climate change; Radiative forcing

Published in

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
2017, Volume: 67, pages: 612-624