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Commercial forestry helps mitigate climate change

Expanding planting of commercial conifer forests is the most efficient way for the UK to achieve climate mitigation through tree planting.

There is rising popular opinion that advocates for re-wilding in the UK, and plenty of opinion that advocates for the planting of native species for both its biodiversity and decarbonisation benefits. But Bangor University has released new research that shows, when it comes to carbon sequestration and mitigating climate change, the non-native conifer can be the most effective. 

The authors looked at 33 different 'what-if' scenarios representing a range of commercial forests with different harvested wood products and conservation forests across different growth rates. It found that one hectare of newly planted commercial forest could mitigate 269% more greenhouse gases (GHG) than semi-natural alternatives. It also did this faster and more efficiently. 

“The study results highlight the effective and reliable contribution that commercial forestry could make towards the Paris Agreement even with projected decarbonisation of marginal materials and energy that are likely to be substituted by harvested wood products in the future. These results counter the conclusions of recent studies questioning the climate credentials of commercial forestry.”

To read the full research visit the Nature Communications website.

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