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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2017) 62(3): 36–44
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Refereed article
Quantifying the carbon in harvested wood products from logs exported from New Zealand

Bruce Manley *,1 and David Evison 2

1 Head of School and Professor of Forest Management, School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Corresponding author:
2 Senior Lecturer, New Zealand School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: In 2015, New Zealand exported 15.4 million m3 of logs, some 53% of the national harvest, with 96% going to China, South Korea and India. Models have been developed to quantify the harvested wood products (HWP) manufactured in each country from these logs and the lifecycle of the HWP produced. The model allows the decay curve of the HWP carbon stock to be estimated. Carbon stocks in the products manufactured in China from New Zealand logs are halved in just under two years. Some 46% of the HWP is lumber and plywood used for temporary construction, while 13% is lumber and plywood used for packaging, which is also short-lived. In South Korea, the carbon stocks are halved in just over 12 years. Although the 42% of material used for temporary construction has a short-life in that intermediate use, most is recycled into longer-lived particleboard. In addition, 30% of log volume (mainly sawmill slabwood and plymill residues) is used for the production of medium-density fibreboard (MDF), another long-lived panel product.
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