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Wood Products Part of Winning Carbon-Emissions Equation, Researchers Say

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    Wood Products Part of Winning Carbon-Emissions Equation, Researchers Say

    Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow, so forests have long been proposed as a way to offset climate change.

    But rather than just letting the forest sit there for a hundred or more years, the amount of carbon dioxide taken out of the atmosphere could be quadrupled in 100 years by harvesting regularly and using the wood in place of steel and concrete that devour fossil fuels during manufacturing, producing carbon dioxide.

    Sustainably managed forests are essentially carbon neutral as they provide an equal, two-way flow of carbon dioxide: the gas that trees absorb while growing eventually goes back to the atmosphere when, for example, a tree falls in the forest and decays, trees burn in a wildfire or a wood cabinet goes to a landfill and rots.

    The best approach for reducing carbon emissions involves growing wood as fast as possible, harvesting before tree growth begins to taper off and using the wood in place of products that are most fossil-fuel intensive, or even using woody biomass to produce biofuels for use in place of fossil fuels.

    Older forests provide many needed ecological values although their ability to absorb carbon dioxide slows down.

    "Like harvesting a garden sustainably, we can use the wood grown in our forests for products and biofuels to displace the use of fossil-intensive products and fuels like steel, concrete, coal and oil."

    This approach makes a lot of sense. Basically, cycle forests
    to keep a dense population of young trees to absorb co2 at
    a faster rate. This cuts down on co2 by both the faster absorbtion
    from maturing trees, and replacing materials that are co2-intensive
    with the lumber from fully matured trees.