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Reasons why delayed harvest and storing carbon in forests is not the optimal climate solution.

It is essential to safeguard the carbon sequestration in forests and other lands. But one must keep in mind that the forestry and agricultural systems are dynamic and fulfill several functions in parallel. To formulate a target of increasing the EU removals from the current 250 – 300 Mt CO2/year to 500 Mt by 2050 can backfire in the long run.

Forests take up CO2 when growing and they store carbon. Compared to fossil carbon deposits this storage is temporary and can easily be threatened by forest fires, pests, storms and other natural disturbances, when most or all of the carbon is released. Old forest and “natural forests” have very limited net CO2 up-take, whereas young forests have high growth rates and high up-take of CO2.

As a result, managed forests composed of stands of all age-classes have the highest total sequestration of carbon. With a high harvesting rate, the substitution of fossil materials and fossil energy can be maximized.

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