Forestry Statistics 2009 - UK Forests and Climate Change

Carbon sequestration

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In climate change reporting, removals to forestland, also called the forest sink, measures the net annual accumulation of carbon in forests by woody biomass, soils and litter.  The annual rate is reported to have peaked in 2004 at 16 million tonnes CO2 in total, of which 12 million tonnes CO2 was in living biomass, and is expected to fall steadily to 2020. Under the Kyoto protocol, additional woodland planted since 1990 contributes to the UK's carbon dioxide emissions target; this continues to increase as woodland continues to be planted.  Changes in the quantity of forest products from timber grown in the UK may also contribute to the carbon balance, but are not included in these reported figures.

Table 4.2 Net carbon dioxide removals attributed to UK forestry

Year

In living biomass

          Total

of which, due to land
afforested since 1990

million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

1990

9.1

12.2

0.0

1995

10.5

13.7

0.3

2000

9.9

13.8

1.4

2005

12.1

15.7

2.3

2010

5.1

10.6

3.0

2015

2.2

7.6

3.4

2020

-0.5

4.7

4.1

Not National Statistics.

Source: Inventory and projections of UK emissions by sources and removal by sinks due to land use, land use change and forestry (CEH, 2009), contributing to 2007 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Defra, January 2009).

Notes:

1. Net annual accumulation of carbon in forests by woody biomass, soils and litter. Includes losses due to forest wildfires. Excludes changes in UK harvested wood products.

2. Emissions and sequestration can be presented as tonnes carbon or tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2). To convert from tonnes CO2 to tonnes carbon multiply by 12/44.

3. Future predictions of carbon uptake assume that commercial conifer plantations will be replanted when felled, and that planting of new woodland will continue at the same rate as in 2007 (mid projection).

Figure 4.2 Net annual change in carbon (CO2 equivalent) 1 in UK woodlands

Figure 4.2 Net annual change in mass of carbon in United Kingdom woodlands

Not National Statistics.

Source: Inventory and projections of UK emissions by sources and removal by sinks due to land use, land use change and forestry (CEH, 2009), contributing to 2007 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Defra, January 2009).

1. Net annual accumulation of carbon in living forest biomass only. Includes losses due to forest wildfires. Excludes changes in carbon in litter, soils and UK harvested wood products.

2. Emissions and sequestration can be presented as tonnes carbon or tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2). To convert from tonnes CO2 to tonnes carbon multiply by 12/44.

3. Future predictions of carbon uptake assume that commercial conifer plantations will be replanted when felled, and that planting of new woodland will continue at the same rate as in 2007 (mid projection).

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