Forests mitigate climate change by sequestering and storing carbon, and by producing woody biomass which can substitute fossil fuels as a source of energy.
The total amount of carbon stored in forest ecosystems and forest products, and fluxes or flows in carbon between both forests and forest products and the atmosphere, are all important aspects.
Both planted and indigenous forests contribute to mitigating climate change by sequestering and storing carbon:
From 2013 onwards, harvesting areas will likely continue to increase. By around 2020, planted forest carbon stocks will decline in the short term as the large areas of forests planted (or replanted) in the 1980s and 1990s are gradually harvested.
Measures of carbon emissions and sinks from harvested wood products (HWP) are still being developed. Changes to the HWP pools in New Zealand, and from New Zealand harvested wood that is exported, will be used to provide information – for example, in the amount of carbon stored in products such as sawn wood and paper.
Woody biomass used for energy contributes to mitigating climate change by acting as a substitute for fossil fuels.