Carbon storage and substitution benefits of harvested wood products
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Wood products provide significant climate change mitigation benefits. These include carbon storage in wood products and carbon substitution benefits associated with the use of wood instead of more fossil energy-intensive materials such as concrete and steel, or of fossil fuels in energy production. This Research Note considers the potential of extending coverage of the UK Woodland Carbon Code to the carbon benefits of wood products associated with woodland creation projects. It builds on previous approaches to including the carbon benefits of harvested wood products under existing carbon market standards. The key recommendations include: (1) exploring ways of allocating carbon units between woodland owners and wood users that provide incentives to increase the quality and supply of timber, the carbon storage and substitution benefits per unit of wood, as well as the overall benefit to society; (2) consideration of potential double-counting issues and how these can be minimised; and (3) investigating rebound and leakage effects, which affect by how much fossil fuel use in the economy changes as a result of increased woodfuel use. Depending on the management system and species used, woodland creation projects involving wood harvesting may increase overall carbon benefits once carbon storage and substitution benefits have been accounted for particularly over multiple rotations. Further work would be required to assess whether average and generic values of carbon storage and substitution benefits could be incorporated into the Woodland Carbon Code’s project-level accounting and impacts on the levels of carbon credits that could then be claimed.
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