Landmark NSW carbon report - the role of production forests in reducing greenhouse gas

A landmark NSW report published in an international forest journal has for the first time highlighted the potential role of production forests in reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The report has now been published in the international journal, Forests (

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“In an Australian first, the report compared the full greenhouse gas (GHG) potential of NSW production forests against conservation forests,” Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Research Leader for Climate in Primary Industries, Dr Georgina Kelly, Dr Kelly said.

“The report authors found that production forests have a significantly higher greenhouse benefit than conservation forests when considering the full lifecycle of timber products as well as standing carbon in trees.

“Unlike conservation forests, production forests provide additional greenhouse gas reduction benefits through wood products, generation of bioenergy, providing substitutes for more greenhouse-intensive building products such as concrete and steel and minimising the need for greenhouse-intensive imports.”

Dr Kelly said it’s critical to understand these whole of life cycle impacts of production forests.

“These findings provide a strong scientific contribution to the current debate on greenhouse gas emissions and helps policy makers understand the full greenhouse potential of Australia’s production forests,” Dr Kelly said.

Dr Kelly said the report ‘Harvested forests provide the greatest ongoing greenhouse gas benefits’ was written by a team of research scientists from the Department of Primary Industries, Forests NSW and University of New England.

“The study examined two key native forest production areas in coastal NSW and assessed two different management scenarios – a conservation forest only and a multiple use production forest,” she said.

“For both areas, we found that converting production forests to conservation forests will not provide additional greenhouse benefits.”

Key findings:
· Managed multiple use production forest provides greater GHG mitigation benefit compared with conservation.
· Stopping logging in NSW native forests will give no additional mitigation benefits.
· The focus of current policy measures on achieving GHG mitigation benefits through conservation measures may be short-sighted.

The report, along with a YouTube video, can be downloaded at: