A new report by the Forest Solutions Group of the World Business Council launched at COP26 has called on world leaders to include timber-producing forests and wood products to help meet net zero by 2050.
The report, Forest Sector Net-Zero Roadmap, calls on policy makers, investors, and forest product companies and customers to leverage the carbon-storing potential of sustainable working forests and their products in the transition to a net-zero economy. The report says:
“In addition to the carbon forest products store, their use also reduces demand for fossil-based and non-renewable alternative materials… The IPCC considers the impact of forest products as a substitute for emissions-intensive materials a climate change mitigation lever…” Forest Sector Net-Zero Roadmap, 21
Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) CEO Ross Hampton welcomed the report’s recognition of our sustainable forest industries’ potential to play a key role in the global fight against climate change.
“As Australia looks to reach net-zero by 2050, our sustainably managed native forests and their products must become a key focus to be part of the solution and strategy to achieve this goal,” Mr Hampton said.
“This report should prompt policy makers, especially the Victorian and WA state governments which have announced planned closures of their sustainable state native forestry operations, along with the private sector, to consider more carefully sustainably managed working forests and their products as the natural go to solution.”
The report also backs in sustainable harvesting of native (natural) forests as a carbon mitigation strategy, stating that “natural and semi-natural forests can be managed for increased carbon storage capacity for decades to centuries” (p18).
This is in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which found that:
A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” – IPCC 4th Assessment
“With world leaders agreeing this decade needs to be the decade of action, Australia’s forest industries stand ready to work with all governments, policy makers and the private sector to ensure that together we can deliver real and practical solutions to achieve net-zero by 2050,” Mr Hampton concluded.