Forestry investment – A new report by Melbourne University’s Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, along with the NSW Department of Primary Industries for Forest and Wood Products, has found that using timber in housing construction can help fight climate change.
The report has found that 100 million tons of carbon is currently stored in the timber in Australian houses and researchers found that 2.05 million tons of carbon is stored each year as more houses are made with timber, totalling 0.4% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The use of bricks, metal, plastics and concrete in construction has contributed to depleting carbon stocks over the past 20 years. However, the fact that timber houses last around 60 years gives this type of construction a great opportunity to help reduce emissions. Other uses for timber are less helpful as timber releases carbon as it decomposes and is destroyed.
The report added that any carbon that is lost in the process is replaced by stocks held by new trees that are planted, “if the forest is sustainably managed and the carbon stock in the forest area is maintained, then the carbon removed from the forest in products or released during harvesting is replaced through new forest growth.”
The study concluded that annual carbon storage would rise from 1.6 million tons in 2008 to 4 million tons by 2050 if more wood was used in housing construction.