Environmental Research Digest – January 2012
This publication calls for public policies that make the best use of the forestry sector’s carbon profile and carbon cycle. It proposes six key points that those responsible for devising forestry and carbon policies need to know, and it highlights the carbon opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
- Efforts to extend sustainable forest management practices to more of the world’s forests should be intensified, recognizing forests’ multiple environmental, economic and societal values.
- Policies are needed to reduce deforestation and encourage afforestation and the use of active, sustainable forest management: policies should be based on the facilitation of markets for forest products, market incentives and improved management systems.
- The benefits of our products can only be realized if public policies promote adequate supplies of wood and recovered fiber.
- Policies should support landowner efforts to keep land in forest, improve productivity, and increase the recovery of biomass.
- Manufacturers can assist by generating wood-derived co-products.
- Within a market-driven framework, policies should recognize the environmental and economic benefits of first using forest biomass make products, and then recycling before using the material as a source of energy.
- Policies should recognize the benefits of carbon stored in forest products and the carbon and energy attributes of forest products, compared to competing products.
- Market forces, rather than subsidies, incentives or mandates, should determine the use of biomass.
- Sustainable production of all types of biomass should be encouraged to minimize competition for land.
- The unintended consequences of forest-based carbon sequestration should be carefully considered.
- These consequences include the loss of wood-producing forests, artificial pricing of forest resources, and declining forest health.
- Regulatory and non-regulatory barriers that discourage facilities from maximizing CHP potential should be removed.
- Policies should enable the development and deployment of new technologies to make our industry energy self-sufficient, and a supplier of bio-based energy.
- Government policies that help reduce the cost of capital will facilitate the adoption of technologies that reduce emissions.
- A level global playing field, with respect to the impacts of carbon policies, is necessary in order to avoid carbon leakage.