Forestry Statistics 2012 - 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 13 million tonnes CO2 was accumulated in living biomass (Table 4.2, Figure 4.2). The rate of accumulation 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; the rate of accumulation of carbon in these new woodlands continues to increase as woodland continues to be planted. 

Reported figures do not include carbon in harvested wood products.

Table 4.2 Net carbon dioxide removals attributed to UK forestry

Year

In living biomass

          Total

of which, due to land
afforested since 1990

emissions due to land deforested since 1990 

million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

1990

9.1

12.2

0.0

-0.4 

1995

10.5

13.7

0.3

-0.3 

2000

9.9

13.7

1.4

-0.7 

2005

12.0

15.6

2.3

-0.6 

2010

5.0

10.6

3.0

-0.6 

2015

1.9

7.4

3.1

-0.5 

2020

-0.9

4.4

3.6

-0.5 

Source: Inventory and projections of UK emissions by sources and removal by sinks due to land use, land use change and forestry, produced by CEH for input to 2010 final UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions (DECC, March 2012).

Notes:

1. Net annual accumulation of carbon in forests by woody biomass, soils and litter.  Adjusted for losses from deforestation and 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 2010 (mid projection).

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics

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

Source: Inventory and projections of UK emissions by sources and removal by sinks due to land use, land use change and forestry, produced by CEH for input to 2010 final UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions (DECC, March 2012).

1. Net annual accumulation of carbon in living forest biomass only. Adjusted for losses from deforestation and 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 2010 (mid projection).

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics

Links to Forestry Statistics 2012