Emissions of greenhouse gasses is causing climate change. Deforestation (loss of forest cover) is one of the major contributors to climate change and currently accounts for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
However the forestry sector provides a range of opportunities to mitigate rises in greenhouse gas emissions including:
- Afforestation and reforestation
- Forest Management
- Increased use of wood products
- Increased use of forest products for bioenergy to replace fossil fuels
In an Irish context this results in:
- Total carbon store in Irish forests currently exceeds 1 billion tones – most of it in the soil.
- Irish Forests absorb about 6% of total green house gas emissions annually equivalent to c. 4 million tones of carbon dioxide (net of harvesting).
- Forests planted post 1990 will absorb around 2.2 million tones of carbon dioxide per year – Projected annual saving to the tax payer of €44 million or €220 million over a 5 year period.
- Government policy foresees major growth in the use of wood for energy generation in the future – replacing fossil fuels
- Afforestation balances out harvesting and other decreases in carbon stocks – 15,000 ha per annum plus level required over next two decades whist also providing renewable energy resource and construction material