(How) can forestry and wood-products contribute to climate change mitigation?
Max is a PhD student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU) and he conducts research on forest management and wood use scenarios with regards to greenhouse gas dynamics with a focus on Sweden.
Department & Group: Department of Energy and Technology
Supervisors: Per-Anders Hansson, Ragnar Jonsson, Johan Stendahl, & Torun Hammar
Dissertation title (as for now 😀)
Quantification and improvement of forest product climate characteristics from a system perspective
Topic – in brief
- Climate change increases the pressure on forests in many ways:
- a rise in droughts, forest fires, strong winds and insect outbreaks weaken and destroy forest ecosystems
- Forests shall contribute to climate change mitigation by storing carbon in their biomass. For that some say that more forests should be used with less intensity, left untouched, or their area shall be increased.
- Wood is a sustainable, regenerative source of materials and energy and some say that wood and forest use should increase to avoid using other materials such as natural gas for heating or concrete for construction
Finding a balance is difficult.
Max models different scenarios and forest management schemes to assess their climate implications.
For example: What if more and more concrete in construction was replaced by wood?
- Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is a tool to model the life-cycle of a product or service in terms of its resource consumption and emissions. Such resources and emissions are translated into environmental impacts. An example being carbon dioxide as an emission and climate change as an impact. Human activity, however, has more impacts on nature than just climate change. Other examples could be eutrophication of rivers (where to many nutrients reach a water body, which causes algal bloom and ultimately a collapse of a lake including dying fish)
- Max models for example carbon flows of forests and wood products, and greenhouse gases from the forestry industry to compare this impact against the emissions of ‘substituted products’ meaning products that serve the same purpose as wood (e.g. plastic for beverage containers, concrete for building construction). By modelling different alternatives and scenarios, one can better understand dynamics and coherence
Using wood as base-material for beverage cartons: Time dynamic climate impacts of a eucalyptus pulp product: Life cycle assessment including biogenic carbon and substitution effects
Decreasing forest use intensity in Sweden can induce climate benefits in the short to medium term: Nordic forest management towards climate change mitigation: time dynamic temperature change impacts of wood product systems including substitution effects
Max’s joys & struggles
Joys: The freedom and support he experiences at SLU and in his work
Struggles: To stay hopeful that forestry and forests can actually live up to rising demands and high expectations of policy-makers
Max’s funding: His research is supported by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) & Stora Enso.
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