Canadian Forest Service Publications

Climate change mitigation through forest sector activities: principles, potential and priorities

Year: 2015

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40631

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Plain Language Summary

Globally, forests remove from the atmosphere about one quarter of the annual human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is of considerable scientific and policy interest to understand if, and how, it may be possible to enhance the contribution of the forest sector to climate change mitigation. Assessment of mitigation options should follow three principles: (1) quantify changes in the net greenhouse gas (GHG) balance in response to changes in human activities, relative to a baseline; (2) estimate emissions (by type of GHG) when and where they occur; and (3) quantify changes in carbon stocks and GHG emissions in forest ecosystems, from harvested wood products (HWP), and from substitution of emissions-intensive products such as steel, concrete, and fossil fuels with wood-based products. Analyses of the potential of Canada’s forest sector’s potential to contribute to climate change mitigation demonstrated the importance of sustainable forest management, maintaining or enhancing carbon stocks, increasing carbon retention in long-lived HWP, and the use of HWP to maximise the displacement of emissions from other sectors. The analyses also identify priorities for early actions if changes in forest sector activities are expected to contribute to near-term emission reduction targets.