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Forest Use & Management
Global Warming and timber
Hardwood & Embodied Energy
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Environmental Guide

Hardwood & Australian greenhouse gas emissions
Source: Australian Greenhouse Office www.greenhouse.gov.au

Timber & Global Warming
Actively growing forests can help mitigate the effects of increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are believed by most climate scientists to be leading to a gradual warming of the planet. Australia and other developed countries have undertaken to limit greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as electricity generation, industrial processes, burning of transport fuels, and agriculture.

Trees and other plants take up (or sequester) carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. The carbon is stored in the leaves, branches, stem, bark and roots. Sustainable forest management, including selective harvesting, can have a neutral effect on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, if measured over the growth and harvest cycle of an existing managed forest. Following harvest, carbon dioxide may be released into the atmosphere through the natural decay of vegetation not removed from the forest and through the burning of sawmill waste from timber processing. However, depending on the end use, harvested wood such as construction timber can store carbon for many years, keeping it out of the atmosphere.