The Role of Eucalyptus Globulus Forest and Products in Carbon Sequestration

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This study is a contribution to the ongoing debate about the selection of the approach for carbon accounting in wood products to be used, in the future, in the national greenhouse gas inventories under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Two accounting approaches are used in this analysis: the stock-change approach and the atmospheric-flow approach. They are applied to the Portuguese Eucalyptus globulus forest sector. To achieve this objective, the fluxes of wood removed from the forest are tracked through its life cycle, which includes products manufacture (mainly pulp and paper), use and final disposal (landfilling, incineration and composting). This study develops a framework to the estimation of carbon sequestration in the forest of E. globulus, a fast growing species, more specifically, in the calculation of the conversion factors such as bark and foliage percentages and densities, used to convert wood volumes into total biomass. A mass balance approach based on real data from mills is also proposed, in order to assess carbon emissions from wood processing. The results show that E. globulus forest sector was a carbon sink, but the magnitude of the carbon sequestration differs substantially depending on the accounting approach used. The contribution of the forest ecosystem was smaller than the aggregated contribution of wood products in use and in landfills (including industrial waste), which reinforces the role that wood products play in national carbon budgets.

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