Finland recalculates carbon sink, upgrades safe level of forest use

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-13 07:16:48|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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HELSINKI, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- New calculations by the governmental Finnish Natural Resources Institute indicated on Wednesday that Finland could safely consume over 80 million cubic meters of its forest wood annually without disturbing its ability of carbon storage.

The updated report indicated that the size of the carbon sink had been underestimated in earlier assessments. The new calculations took into account the global warming and the faster growth of forests in a warmer climate.

The Finnish Natural Resources Institute said that even though the Finnish carbon sink will shrink because of wood usage, it would be not be reduced to a critical level any time before 2050.

The Finnish Nature Conservation Association on Wednesday expressed concerns with the latest estimate. Harri Holtta, chairman of the association, described the new conclusions as "bold".

"With the new calculations Finland would avoid EU sanctions, even though more wood would be used to meet the needs of the pulp industry," Holtta said.

The current level of forest use is roughly 70 million cubic meters annually. The government has aimed at an increase up to 80 million.

Besides nature conservation circles, political opposition parties have questioned the sustainability of the usage exceeding the present levels.

An all-party working group is currently reviewing the Finnish climate policy. The intention is that the political parties could agree on climate policy that would cover a longer period than the next parliamentary tenure 2019-2023.

The EU land usage decree requires that members inform the commission by the end of 2018 about estimated carbon sink levels of their forests in 2021-2025. They will then be analyzed by experts from the EU and members. The EU Commission will define the final values in 2020.