[CDR] On the trade-offs and synergies between forest carbon sequestration and substitution

Ron Larson

Greg and list,  and adding Dr. Soimaakallio (first author of the cited paper)

Thanks for the alert.  

`The paper is well done.  It would be a killer for the biomass portions of CDR - except the authors were unaware of the youngest of the CDR options; biochar. 

 It happens that Puro has recently chosen a Finnish firm for one of its first CDR options.  See 


The emphasis here and for most biochar production is on scrap forest material that would otherwise turn back to CO2 and (often first and worse) methane.

Biochar can also operate with farm and urban wastes, but forest resources may be the most important, especially where forests need removal of excess biomass.  Maybe not a problem in Finland - but a major issue in the US.

Finland is a wonderful home for biochar - as it is (I think) the country with greatest per capital dependence on forest products.  Also rated first (?) in a happiness index.  Maybe these statistics are correlated.


On Mar 15, 2021, at 5:12 PM, 'Greg Rau' via Carbon Dioxide Removal <CarbonDioxideRemoval@...> wrote:

"Forest biomass can be used in two different ways to limit the growth of the atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations: (1) to provide negative emissions through sequestration of carbon into forests and harvested wood products or (2) to avoid GHG emissions through substitution of non-renewable raw materials with wood. We study the trade-offs and synergies between these strategies using three different Finnish national-level forest scenarios between 2015 and 2044 as examples. We demonstrate how GHG emissions change when wood harvest rates are increased. We take into account CO2 and other greenhouse gas flows in the forest, the decay rate of harvested wood products and fossil-based CO2 emissions that can be avoided by substituting alternative materials with wood derived from increased harvests. We considered uncertainties of key parameters by using stochastic simulation. According to our results, an increase in harvest rates in Finland increased the total net GHG flow to the atmosphere virtually certainly or very likely, given the uncertainties and time frame considered. This was because the increased biomass-based CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere together with decreased carbon sequestration into the forest were very likely higher than the avoided fossil-based CO2 emissions. The reverse of this conclusion would require that compared to what was studied in this paper, the share of long-living wood products in the product mix would be higher, carbon dioxide from bioenergy production would be captured and stored, and reduction in forest carbon equivalent net sink due to wood harvesting would be minimized."

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