Finnish Fibreboard
Wood absorbs carbon

Every year, people emit 7.9 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Natural carbon sinks absorb only a little over half this amount so, in addition to reducing emissions, we should also be able to absorb the carbon that we produce. A wood product is nature’s own carbon store.

In nature, carbon is absorbed by different things. When these stores release CO2 into the atmosphere in one way or other, the situation is balanced by the carbon being absorbed by carbon sinks such as biomass, the sea, lakes and the atmosphere. This process is called the carbon cycle.

Every year, people emit 7.9 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon sinks absorb only about 4.6 billion tonnes of this amount. Therefore the annual addition of CO2 is a vast 3.3 billion tonnes. Balancing such a large amount will not be possible merely by reducing emissions, so it must be possible also to absorb the carbon.

Wood is a carbon sink

  • Together the trees in forests can absorb great quantities of CO2 and can also store them as wood. Each cubic metre of wood contains about 0.9 tonnes of CO2.
  • Well-managed and fast growing commercial forests are more effective carbon sinks that natural forests

A wood product is a carbon store

  • Carbon absorbed by commercial forests is stored in wood products for a very long time and stays out of the atmosphere
  • The average life span of wood-based products varies from two months for newspapers to more than 75 years for wooden structures
  • The longer the life span, the greater the environmental benefit: the working life of harvested wood lengthens and less energy is need for the manufacture of replacement products
  • On average a wooden detached house absorbs an amount of CO2 equivalent to ten years of motoring by one family or ten holidays in a hot country