The global potential for carbon capture and storage from forestry
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Discussions about limiting anthropogenic emissions of CO2 often focus on transition to renewable energy sources and on carbon capture and storage (CCS) of CO2. The potential contributions from forests, forest products and other low-tech strategies are less frequently discussed. Here we develop a new simulation model to assess the global carbon content in forests and apply the model to study active annual carbon harvest 100 years into the future. Results: The numerical experiments show that under a hypothetical scenario of globally sustainable forestry the world’s forests could provide a large carbon sink, about one gigatonne per year, due to enhancement of carbon stock in tree biomass. In addition, a large amount of wood, 11.5 GT of carbon per year, could be extracted for reducing CO2 emissions by substitution of wood for fossil fuels. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that carbon harvest from forests and carbon storage in living forests have a significant potential for CCS on a global scale.