The potential role of forest management in Swedish scenarios towards climate neutrality by mid century

Swedish climate policy targets net zero greenhouse gases (GHG) by mid-century, with road transport independent of fossil fuels by 2030, requiring far-reaching changes in the way energy is used. Forest management is expected to support carbon sequestration and provide biomass for various uses, including energy.

In this paper, we combine two energy scenarios with four forest scenarios and quantify GHG balances associated with energy-use for heat, electricity, and road transport, and with forest management and production, use, and end-of-life management of various forest products, including products for export. The aggregated GHG balances are evaluated in relation to the 2-degree target and an allocated Swedish CO2 budget. The production of biofuels in the agriculture sector is considered but not analyzed in detail.

The results suggest that Swedish forestry can make an important contribution by supplying forest fuels and other products while maintaining or enhancing carbon storage in vegetation, soils, and forest products. The GHG neutrality goal is not met in any of the scenarios without factoring in carbon sequestration. Measures to enhance forest productivity can increase output of forest products (including biofuels for export) and also enhance carbon sequestration. The Swedish forest sector can let Sweden reach net negative emissions, and avoid “using up” its allocated CO2 budget, thereby increasing the associated emissions space for the rest of the world.

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Last updated: 2021-06-24

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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