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The sustainable forest products industry, carbon and climate change: key messages for policy-makers

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This paper argues that optimum forest management practices will be those that ensure continued carbon sequestration in the forest, provide wood fibre for biomass-based products and carbon neutral biomass fuels, and protect the ecological values of the forest in a balanced way.The Sustainable Forest Products Industry aims to be responsible managers of carbon by:supplying products that store carbon, require lower energy inputs during their life cycle than most alternative nonwood products, and are highly recyclableusing forest resources sustainably and efficientlymeeting most energy needs with carbon-neutral biomass fuels.Carbon challenges for the industry include:the connections between the industry and the global carbon cycle are complex, and hastily enacted climate change policies can have unintended consequences on the industry’s futurebeing capital intensive makes it difficult and expensive to change technology in response to short-term policy measures.Carbon opportunities include:breakthrough technologies are needed to significantly reduce energy consumption within the industryassisting in the efforts to reduce society’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the forest products industry can:become more energy efficient and increase its share of biomass in energy productionhelp supply society with increasing amounts of wood and fibre for use as a raw material and for bioenergystrive to increase the use of recycled fiberPolicy recommendations include:improvements in energy- and carbon-intensity can be accelerated by public policies that promote faster turnover of capital stockbiomass energy is an important component of policies to control atmospheric CO2, but unless they are balanced, these policies could significantly impact the forest products industry. Policies must secure:adequate supplies of fresh fibrethe carbon life cycle benefits associated with forest productsan increase in the recovery of used wood and fibre.