Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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4.5.6. Forest Products

This section presents the opportunities offered by forest products as a recyclable store of carbon and a renewable source of fibers for the mitigation of climate change. Policy options to account for these wood product pools are discussed in Section 6.2.2.

In 1996, the world's forests produced 3.4 billion m3 of harvested roundwood. About 1.9 billion m3 (56 percent) of this harvest was fuelwood; the remainder (1.5 billion m3) was industrial roundwood (e.g., sawlogs and pulpwood). The industrial roundwood corresponds to a harvesting flux of about 0.3 Gt C yr-1. Developed countries account for 70 percent of total world production and consumption of industrial wood products (FAO, 1999).

The timber that is harvested is converted into a wide variety of wood products (Skog and Nicholson, 1998). The carbon in the wood is fixed in products until they decay or are burned (i.e., for energy production) and the carbon is subsequently released back into the atmosphere. Models are available to assist in developing estimates of carbon fate in wood products, depending on their initial size, quality, and industrial utilization (Row and Phelps, 1996; Apps et al., 1999b). With increasing industrial use of wood, the amount of carbon fixed in wood products will raise proportionally. There are several ways to positively influence the carbon balance:

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