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DN Debatt: ”Clear-cutting forests generate large greenhouse gas emissions”

Swedish forests are important carbon sinks today, despite emissions from deforestration. The choice of management is paramount for the impacts on climate change and some of the concepts used in the climate discussion today needs to be thought over and based on research. This is the essense of an article published by Professor Anders Lindroth and Professor Christina Moberg, in DN Debatt on 11 September.
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Photo: Patrik Vestin

The intense discussion on forest and land use management is continued in the European parliament, as decisions are being made later this autumn. The idea that there are only small climate impacts from bioenergy is being increasingly questioned. Some argue that clear-cutting in Swedish forests is climate neutral and therefore, can be increased. But the mechanisms of carbon sources and sinks and the use of forest products are complex. The words "fossil free" - a key concept in the discussion - needs to be used carefully as there are variations in energy efficiency in relation to greenhouse gas emissions, the authors points out.

The article refers to a LUCCI-related dissertation, "Effects of forest management on greenhouse gas fluxes in a boreal forest" by Patrik Vestin. In his PhD thesis, which is to be defended on Friday the 22nd of September, Patrik Vestin finds that clear-cutting generates release of nitrous oxide and methane. Both of which are stronger greenhouse gases compared to carbon dioxide. Although they are emitted in lower quantities than carbon dioxide, their effect cannot be neglected.

Visit the staff page of Anders Lindroth.
Visit the staff page of Christina Moberg, KTH.

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