Forests are often called the lungs of the Earth – for a good reason. Trees produce oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide. Growing forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere, storing it in wood biomass. When trees are harvested, carbon is transferred to wood-based products. At the end of the product’s lifecycle, the carbon is released into the atmosphere for new generations of trees to absorb. In order to sustain this cycle, a new tree has to be planted to replace every harvested one. Sustainably managed forests act as a carbon sink while also yielding raw material substituting fossil resources.
Climate benefits with sustainable forestry
Sustainably managed forests are carbon sinks
We plant 50 million seedlings per year. On average, this means about 100 trees every minute, year round. Forest regeneration after harvesting is the cornerstone of our sustainable forest management strategy. Our actions do not result in any deforestation.
We carefully plan our harvesting rates to ensure that our forestry practices are fully sustainable. In short, we plant more trees than we harvest.
We manage our forests to help them serve as carbon sinks. We conduct ongoing research with expert partners to better understand and identify the climate impact of our forests. Our modern research strategy is based on carbon calculations, with scientifically valid data helping us to define specific targets for the future. It also enables us to communicate the value of sustainable forest management.
|Country||Annual carbon sink/source, Mt CO2 eq||Scope of calculation|
|Finland||-0.9||Trees + soil|
|Uruguay||-2.9||Trees + soil|
Finland: Sink = trees increment - drainage (harvesting and natural) + soil sink (using Yasso07). Uruguay: Sink = change in tree carbon stock + soil sink (using Yasso07). USA: Source = change in tree carbon stock.
Replacing fossils with wood-based products
Wood has enormous potential as a renewable, recyclable and carbon-neutral raw material. We foresee an exciting future for innovative wood-based products in the post-fossil era.
Sustainable wood-based products start with sound forestry practices. Our forests serve as carbon sinks thanks to our sustainable harvesting and systematic forest regeneration policy. A forest’s total carbon sequestering capacity also includes the carbon contained in the soil. Finland’s peatlands, for instance, are massive carbon stores. Protecting natural peatlands is therefore important both for the climate and for biodiversity.
Reforestation and afforestation of degraded land is an effective way to increase the total carbon sequestration capacity of forests. Our plantations in Uruguay show a significant increase in carbon sequestration compared to degraded grassland reference areas.
The efficient use of wood raw material is an important factor affecting the carbon footprint of wood-based products. We maximize the usage of harvested wood by harnessing byproducts and side streams. A great example is our renewable diesel made of crude tall oil, which is a byproduct of pulp manufacturing.
Forests regulate local climate
Forests have a major impact on global climate change, but they also have plenty of local effects. Trees purify air, provide shelter and prevent erosion and desertification. Forests also inhibit weather extremities.
Forests are important both in natural and constructed environments. Outside cities, they create micro-climates suitable for different wildlife species. In cities, trees growing in parks and other green belts are valued for recreation and also for their ability to bind airborne particles.