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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2010) 54(4): 28–30
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Professional Paper
Instant carbon loss from harvested wood?

Mark Belton 1

1 (

Recognition of embedded carbon in harvested wood products (HWP) was championed by New Zealand in negotiations leading up to COP 15 in Copenhagen. This recognition has potential to significantly reduce harvest carbon liabilities, and reward practices that will enhance carbon storage in wood products. It is widely agreed that the ‘instant oxidation’ treatment of carbon at time of harvest under Kyoto Protocol rules is wrong and bears no relation to reality. The anomaly creates the spectre of carbon liabilities at time of harvest that could make timber harvesting less profitable, potentially inhibiting investment in growing forests for carbon sequestration in combination with timber production. Instant oxidation also fails to recognise existing carbon pools associated with wood product end uses, and in the absence of this recognition, removes incentives to expand wood product carbon pools.
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