Carbon storage in forests

The ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide makes forests an important carbon sink. Metsä Fibre produces wood products that are based on renewable natural resources and continue to function as carbon storages for their entire life-span.

Maintaining carbon sinks

To combat climate change, it is vital to keep the greenhouse gas emissions on a level that the carbon sinks can fully compensate. We can maintain forests’ carbon sinks by using wood sustainably, promoting forest growth and avoiding forest damage.

Carbon sink is not constant

In Finland, active forest management has increased both the carbon sink and carbon storage of forests. Carbon storage has increased, because forests now have more wood than a hundred years ago, when the first national forest inventory was carried out. The carbon sink has also grown because our forests now grow better and more densely than before.

However, the carbon sink is not constant. The age structure of forests is a big factor causing changes in tree growth. In young forests, growth is fastest in 21–40-year-old trees and is still relatively fast in 41–60-year-old trees.
Northern Finland has vast amount of forests that are more than 60 years old, which are no longer at the best growth stage. While growth continued to increase at the national level, it was doing so at a slower pace. When there are a lot of young forests that grow well, they function as a strong carbon sink. 

Climate benefits

Forest use and climate goals can be combined by using forests, as they provide renewable natural resources. This offers climate benefits, but it also requires us to accept that forest use leads to fluctuations in the size of the carbon sink.

Over 90,000 private forest owners form the Metsäliitto Cooperative, the parent company of Metsä Group. They manage their forest sustainably, and thus strengthen the carbon sink.

Forest owners can use traditional methods that comply with good forest management practices: using the tree species most suitable for the site type and performing forest management work on time. For example, when thinning is carried out on time, growth improves and recovers more quickly.