Together with the rest of society, the timber industry should work within the planetary boundaries. Forests have a special role in the climate problem, because re-growing forests (not plantations) is the only benign and effective way of removing carbon from the atmosphere. Since half of all living plant biomass has disappeared due to human activity there is a large potential of reducing atmospheric carbon levels by reforestation and by restoring degraded forest areas.
In order to maximize climate mitigation effects in Scandinavian forests (and probably world-wide):
- Cease the felling of old-growth forests and other forests that have never been clear-cut, since these store a lot of soil carbon, which takes a long time to be restored. This will obviously benefit biodiversity as well.
- Stop planting species-poor and even-aged monocultures.
- Practice natural regeneration and switch to mixed forests (on land where such forest naturally grows), since these store more carbon, have higher albedo and yield more ecosystem services in general. Forestry methods that maintain natural ecosystem characteristics yield forests that are more resilient to the negative impacts of climate change, like storms and pests.
- Use harvesting methods that minimize the release of greenhouse gases from soil. Continuous cover forestry is better in this respect than clear-cuts.
- Discontinue the use of soil scarification, drainage (ditching), fertilizers, exotic tree species and pesticides.
- Prolong the rotation period to sequester more carbon.
- Restore wetlands on drained peatlands, since forest on these lands emits a lot of greenhouse gases.
- Produce less short-lived forest products which require a lot of energy in order to produce and that release carbon to the atmosphere rapidly. Prioritize long-lived products instead.
- Do more research to develop forestry methods which benefit both the climate and biodiversity.