Benefits of wood for climate change – The use of wood can be very valuable to the planet, that is because trees and other plants are natural storehouses for carbon dioxide (CO2). Through the process of photosynthesis, they remove this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and use it to fuel their growth. As a result, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced, helping to offset the emissions from human activities.
Forests play a particularly important role in mitigating climate change because they cover such a large area of the planet. In fact, they are currently responsible for absorbing approximately one-third of all human-created CO2 emissions.
Deforestation, on the other hand, releases huge amounts of stored carbon back into the atmosphere. It is estimated that deforestation accounts for up to 20% of all global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire transportation sector.
Reducing deforestation and promoting reforestation are therefore key strategies for mitigating climate change. And one way to do this is by using wood products instead of fossil fuels or other materials that require significant amounts of energy and resources to produce.
Wood products are generally much more efficient to produce than their concrete or steel counterparts, and they can be sourced from sustainably managed forests. As a result, they have a much lower carbon footprint throughout their life cycle – from production through to disposal.
In addition, wood products continue to store carbon after they are manufactured. For example, a wooden table will continue to sequester carbon for as long as it exists; whereas a concrete table will release its stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
There are some important considerations to keep in mind when using wood to reduce emissions of CO2. The type of tree and how it is harvested can impact the greenhouse gas benefits of using wood products. For example, growing fast-growing trees on degraded lands or using forest management practices that promote forest regeneration can increase the sequestration benefits of forestry.
Burning wood responsibly is also critical to realize its potential as a climate mitigation strategy – for example, by avoiding deforestation, reducing waste, and switching from open air to efficient stoves or cookstoves.