Forests, wood and climate

Sustainably managed forests are a limitless source of raw material. Growing trees store carbon dioxide from the air, and this remains in wood products throughout their life. One cubic metre of wood absorbs about one tonne of carbon dioxide. The use of wood precipitates forest renewal. Growing forests bind more carbon dioxide than a fully grown forest.

Wood processing also provides opportunities to mitigate climate change. The consumption of energy and natural resources and CO2 emissions caused by the manufacture of wood products are less than in manufacturing using other materials. In fact, in the production of sawn and planed products, more energy is created than consumed. Wood is a carbon store as it sequesters CO2 from the air as it grows. Wood can be used to replace materials whose manufacture is harmful to the environment. At the end of their life cycle, wood products can be used to produce renewable energy and so replace fossil fuels. The amount of CO2 released when burning wood is equal to the amount that it has sequestered during its growth. Neither wood nor the products produced from its elements generate problem waste.

Wood is a renewable material. Finland’s sustainably managed forests produce considerably more good-quality wood than is used. Annual forest growth is about 107 million cubic metres, about half of which is used. The limit for sustainable felling is about 84 million cubic metres.