Conifers play a key role in absorbing CO2

The recently released publication was compiled by the staff of Forest Research.

The organization is the UK’s leading forestry and tree-related research organisation.

Her latest report is titled: Quantifying the Carbon Cycle of Sustainable Forestry.

Premier Woodlands Managing Director John Hetherington

In particular, it confirms that fast-growing sieve plantations (thinned) can sequester up to 14 tons of CO2/ha/year. Fast-growing conifers (unthinned) are next in rate of absorption – 11.1 t, followed by conifers (thinned) – 8.9 t.

In comparison, plantations with broad-leaved plants used on a small scale can provide a sequestration level of only 5.7 t.

Premier Woodlands; Managing Director John Hetherington commented:

“Forestry research dispels the myth that fast-growing sitka and other proven options have no role to play in Northern Ireland’s forestry development and future woodland development strategies.

“The point is what they do. It is only reasonable that the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, in tandem with the Forest Service, should take this reality fully into account when planning for the future.”

The work, carried out by Forest Research, is a systematic analysis of the rate of net CO2 absorption over time from the establishment of a wide range of different forest types in the UK.

The research includes the possibility of avoiding future emissions by using wood products instead of other materials and fuels. Twelve forest types were analyzed, covering coniferous and broad-leaved forests, as well as natural repopulated forests on abandoned lands.

The results show that all forest types provide significant net absorption of CO2 over the 100-year period and almost all between 2022 and 2050. None of these lead to significant net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over this time.

In addition, wood products can provide a significant amount of carbon and avoid emissions when they replace other materials. These effects are most evident for newly forested areas that have been used for production for a longer period of time when these forests begin to produce timber.

These contributions can be almost as important as the carbon sequestration of forests during this time period.

Moreover, the simulation results were consistent with experimental measurements of CO2 absorption rates when available.

Meanwhile, the decision by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to revive both the Forestry Extension Scheme (FES) and the Small Woodland Grants (SWGS) program in 2022, earlier than would traditionally have been welcomed, was widely welcomed.

The closing date for both measures is August 31.

John Hetherington commented:

“The August closure date should mean that significant levels of landings could occur in the 2022/23 season.

“Until now, the later application period has greatly reduced the number of projects that can be implemented in a given planting season.”

But according to a Premier Woodlands spokesman, amending the application date issue is just one of the issues that need to be addressed in both forestry schemes.

He continued: “All the costs associated with any planting project have increased dramatically in the last 12 months: fencing, ground preparation work, fuel and the costs associated with actually purchasing the young trees.

“But the grant rates available to FES and SWGS have not changed. This problem needs to be fixed as a matter of priority before the start of the 2022/23 crop year.

“If this doesn’t happen, the number of landowners willing to create any form of woodland or new woodland will plummet in the coming months.”

For more information contact Premier Woodlands on (028) 7963 4236. Conifers play a key role in absorbing CO2

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