The role of sustainable forest management for CO2 fixation and climate change

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Climate change is one of today’s biggest challenges. Due to its economic, social and environmental consequences, it affects everything and everyone of us: nature, companies and citizens. We would like to clear up the misconception that many people seem to have about forestry in this context. Logging trees does not necessarily mean damaging forests or negatively influencing the greenhouse gas emission balance. In this blog we will tell you about the important role woods and a sustainable forest management play in the fight against climate change.

The carbon concentration in the air skyrocketed in the 20th century and has been continuously increasing ever since. Since 1850, the worldwide CO2 concentration has increased by 30%. In Spain alone, this rate went up by 5% during 2015. These are alarming figures that can be attributed to human action which is why we definitely have to be more active in the fight against it.

We have to reduce the carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere and mitigate the resulting impacts. One way to do this is to take advantage of the power of nature, to be more precise, of the trees. With the help of the woods we can reduce the carbon dioxide content considerably, as trees perform a photosynthesis process while they are growing. Trees absorb and store CO2 which they need as carbohydrates in their metabolic process and release oxygen at the same time.

The tree carries out this process whilst it is growing. When it is fully grown there comes the time when it should be felled because otherwise, when it decays or burns (in the case of a forest fire,) the stored carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere again. Though if you fell the tree and use the wood to produce e.g. furniture, the carbon can be stored for many years. If you process the wood into paper it will have a shorter life cycle and the carbon will be released into the atmosphere more quickly but still, serves as a carbon storage for quite some time.

It has been proven that nearly 50% of a dried log consists of carbon dioxide. For example, a pine tree (Pinus sylvestris) weighing 1 tonne consists of around 250kg CO2.



*The 250 Kg CO2 shows us that this tree had stored 915kg Co2 before.

One cubic metre of wood frees the atmosphere from approximately one tonne of CO2. Hence, Spanish woods store 3.3120 million tonnes of CO2.

Apart from the pine tree, there are many other trees that can store high amounts of carbon. According to the website „Conciencia Eco” (Digital journal of environmental culture) the mountain pine (Pinus halepensis)  which stores 48,870kg CO2 per year and the stone pine (Pinus pinea) that has the capacity to store 27,180kg CO2 excel in this area. Other trees with high storage capacities are the holm oak (Quercus ilex), the cork-oak (Quercus suber), the elm (Ulmus minor), the olive tree (Olea europae), the Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and many more. We are lucky that all of these trees exist in Europe, now there is only smart and sustainable forest management missing.

SocialForest feels it is very important to explain that felling a tree does not always mean harming the forest or the climate. Quite the opposite in fact: To combat climate change we have to manage forests appropriately. This means that we have to fell trees selectively to give young and strong trees the possibility to grow without competition for light, nutrition and water and therefore the capability to store more CO2. The best recipe against climate change is to grow and maintain the forest, but at the same time, to harvest and process the greatest quantity of wood possible.  



We strictly follow sustainable forest management by individually examining the best procedure for every single forest and using clean energy to look after the environment and nature. It is our intention to improve sustainable forestry and use it as a tool for social integration.

Moreover, you should consider that processed wood can be used various times over its life cycle. For example, wooden furniture can be processed into fibreboards after it cannot be used as furniture anymore and then into pellets afterwards, so that the carbon can be stored for a longer period of time. The stored carbon dioxide is maintained within the wooden products until you burn it or it begins to decay.

Grafik Englisch

According to the research project from the German Institute of World Forest Management at the University of Hamburg, Germany could decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 24 million tonnes per year by applying smart and sustainable forest management. To reduce the greenhouse gas emission balance to 0, every person in the world would have to plant 1.5 hectares of wood.

In the end, the CO2 also goes back into the atmosphere and therefore trees are not the saviours we would like them to be, but at least they give us more time to search for effective solutions to fight climate change in the long-run. 



Joan Ramis.



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