According to the 2020 report on the state of Europe’s forests, the area of forests in Europe has increased by 9% since 1990, but the volume of wood biomass has even halved in the same period, Eesti Metsaselts announced in a press release.
The share of protected forests has increased by 65% in the last 20 years. Sustainable forest management is behind the growing timber and carbon stocks.
According to the report, forest land accounts for 35% of Europe’s land area. The growth of wood biomass has been driven by the increase in forest density, which has been accelerated by forest management. The average timber stock per hectare is 169 cubic meters, which is almost a third more than in 1990. In total, Europe’s timber reserves have grown to 31 billion cubic meters. The age structure of forests has also changed – the share of old-growth forests has increased throughout Europe.
Marek Metslaid, director of the Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, says that an even age distribution of forests is an important prerequisite for achieving both environmental and economic goals.
“The age balance of forests simultaneously helps to achieve climate goals, ensure forest biodiversity and stable availability of wood resources,” Metslaid explained. “As we age, the viability and disease resistance of forests decreases, our susceptibility to various natural disturbances increases, and at the same time, the carbon sequestration capacity of forests begins to decrease. Reforestation plays an important role in mitigating climate change and ensuring the viability of forests. ”
In the last three years, almost 100 million new tree plants have been planted in Estonian forests.
According to Metslaid, the European Union’s green agreement will affect all sectors of the economy, but the forest and timber sector, as a valender of wood as an environmentally friendly and renewable raw material, has a key role to play in achieving its goals.
“Long-lasting wood products, such as wooden houses and furniture, allow the carbon stored in wood to be locked in for a long time. With residues from wood procurement and the production of wood products, such as twigs and sawdust, we can heat so many homes by replacing fossil fuels, ”said Metslaid. The beneficial effects of sustainable forest management in mitigating climate change have also been confirmed by the UN Climate Report IPCC.
According to Jaan Kersi, the head of the wood technology laboratory at Tallinn University of Technology, large-scale research and development activities are taking place in the world, which are looking for ways to apply wood as wisely and efficiently as possible in different fields.
“Lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses produced by wood refining have great potential, as they can be used to make consumer plastics, packaging materials, clothing, finishing materials and other chemical products that we have so far produced from fossil raw materials. The question now is how to make these products affordable for the consumer and at the end of the product’s life cycle, the material can be reused as a cascade in subsequent products, ”said Kers.
According to Kersi, there is no doubt that wood, as a rapidly renewable resource, is playing an increasingly important role in meeting daily consumption needs in the light of the climate goals arising from the Green Agreement.
European forest port can be found here.
Source: Lääne Elu by online.le.ee.
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