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Open AccessArticle

Global Warming Mitigating Role of Wood Products from Washington State’s Private Forests

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School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
2
Three Trees Consulting, LLC, Madrid, NY 13660, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020194
Received: 27 December 2019 / Revised: 29 January 2020 / Accepted: 4 February 2020 / Published: 10 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Wood Science)
Similar to standing trees in the forests, wood products play an important role in enhancing the global sequestered carbon pool, by retaining the atmospheric carbon in a sequestered form for the duration of the functional life of the wood products. This study uses a temporal radiative forcing analysis along with the functional half-life of different wood products to evaluate the impacts of wood products on global warming, including carbon storage and life cycle greenhouse gas production/extraction emissions. The methodology is applied to Washington State’s aboveground biomass and timber harvest data, and to the State’s comprehensive wood products mix. A moderate harvest rate simulation within Washington Biomass Calculator is used to estimate state harvest level, and statewide wood products manufacturing data is used for developing wood product mix estimates. Using this method, we estimate that the temporal carbon storage leads to a global warming mitigation benefit equivalent to 4.3 million tCO2eq. Even after factoring in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the harvest operations and wood products manufacturing processes, within the temporal model, the results show a net beneficial impact of approximately 1.7 million tCO2eq, on an annual basis. It can further be noted that Washington State’s annual biomass growth in its private forests exceeds its annual harvest, by a significant margin. This net yearly accumulation of biomass in the State’s private forests leads to additional global warming mitigation benefits equivalent to 7.4 million tCO2eq. Based on these results, we conclude that Washington’s private forestry industry is a net global warming mitigator for the State, equivalent to 12% of the State’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
Keywords: forest products; global warming potential (GWP); industrial ecosystem; environmental assessment; life cycle assessment (LCA); carbon sequestration forest products; global warming potential (GWP); industrial ecosystem; environmental assessment; life cycle assessment (LCA); carbon sequestration
MDPI and ACS Style

Ganguly, I.; Pierobon, F.; Hall, E.S. Global Warming Mitigating Role of Wood Products from Washington State’s Private Forests. Forests 2020, 11, 194.

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