Jan 9 • 4 min read
Managing forest for carbon impact
Modelling forest-based climate change mitigation
Climate change is likely the greatest challenge modern humankind has ever faced, cross-cutting through our cultures and our way of living, threatening not just our current livelihoods but also our planet’s entire ecosystems. It’s increasingly clear that we are living and breathing in a faulted system which can’t run business-as-usual much longer. Though it also starts to be clear that our children and our children’s children will not be enjoying this planet in the same condition as we have, the real mitigation impact we can have is yet to unfold. That is based on decisions and actions we take now.
As is commonly understood, when properly managed, forests can act as one of the best and cost-efficient tools for climate change mitigation. Forests reduce carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere through natural biological growth and store carbon into the forest biomass and forest soil. However, due to the overall heterogeneous and dynamic nature of forest ecosystems, estimation and forecasting of these processes is far from a simple task.
When we take in the carbon dynamics of the soil, harvesting operations, and carbon therefore stored in wood-based products, simulation and optimization becomes highly complicated. In the real world, we rarely have the luxury of striving towards a single target, but instead we need to find an optimal balance between multiple goals. This is also the case for utilization of our forest resources. Though maximizing and locking the carbon storage in the forests and forest soils might be a possibility in some cases, these places are quite limited. More often than not, it does make sense to also utilize the forests and their biomass through sustainable harvesting and extraction, therefore generating sustainable commodities and well-being based on a renewable resource and circular economy principles. Hence, the overall atmospheric impact of our forest resource utilization is not limited to the physical forest asset, but extends to the life-cycle of the carbon stored within the forest biomass. Understanding this holistic carbon impact of forestry is crucial for achieving effective climate-smart decision making.
Carbon modelling services to the rescue
At Simosol we have jumped to this task head-on, striving to be able to provide the best possible services for our clients, and for our planet. Our dynamic forest carbon modelling takes into account not just the forest biomass and forest soils, but also the carbon stored in the wood products, their transport and manufacturing emissions, life-cycle of different wood-based products, and the substitution impact these products have when they offset the demand for alternative, more emission-intensive products. Importantly, our core philosophy is that there should never be any “black boxes” – our models and assumptions are based on the best possible data and research, and we strive for continuous improvement of our carbon calculations in close collaboration with our clients and partners.
The true value from our forest carbon models is leveraged when we combine them with our state-of-the-art forest management IT solutions, which have been conquering the world of forestry for more than a decade already. These include integration of forest carbon modelling and optimization into our IPTIM Assets software as well as building of scalable turnkey forest carbon flux service, ForestFlux, together with top-class partners. We also provide periodical forest carbon impact accounting enabling robust stakeholder reporting for institutional forest owners. With these solutions and more, climate smart forest management planning and decision making is now brought into practice and into the reach of all forest owners and managers.
Juho Penttilä, Head of Natural Climate Solutions
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