The forestry & wood sector and climate change mitigation

From carbon sequestration in forests to the development of the bioeconomy

by Alice Roux (editorial coordination), Antoine Colin (editorial coordination), Jean-François Dhôte (editorial coordination), Bertrand Schmitt (editorial coordination)
october 2023
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While the main challenge in intertropical and boreal regions is tackling deforestation and forest resource degradation, forests and forestry in temperate regions face what may appear to be contradictory goals: to increase atmospheric carbon capture through sequestration in biomass and soils, while providing a growing share of the resources needed to produce essential material goods and energy for human societies as well as gradually renewing forests to enable them to adapt to future climate conditions. Creating a balance between these potentially competing priorities has been the subject of intense societal and scientific debate in recent years, which has prompted us to examine all aspects of these issues in greater depth.

INRAE and IGN, at the request of the French Ministries responsible for agriculture and forestry, have jointly undertaken a scientific assessment to shed light on the details of this debate, using the example of forests and the forestry & wood sectors in metropolitan France. The results of this important exercise are presented in this book.


The French version of this book, Filière forêt-bois et atténuation du changement climatique, is available on our website.

La version française de ce titre, Filière forêt-bois et atténuation du changement climatique, est disponible sur notre site.

Table of contents

The role of the forestry & wood sectors in mitigating climate change 

A global issue

The French forestry & wood sector and its challenges

Forestry mitigation levers

An innovative assessment of the mitigation potential of the French sector

Chapter 1. Mitigation capacity of the different segments of the forestry & wood sector

Assessment of carbon storage in the forest ecosystem

Assessment of carbon storage in wood or wood-based products

Estimation of the greenhouse gas emissions avoided through substitution effects

Chapter 2. The current carbon balance across the French forestry & wood sector

An already significant carbon balance

Factors affecting the carbon balance: forest management, climate and risks

Chapter 3. Three forest management scenarios to the year 2050

'Extensification and reduced harvesting' scenario’

An intermediate 'Territorial Dynamics' scenario

‘Intensification and increase of harvests’ scenario

Plausibility of the management scenarios and reforestation plan

Three contrasting visions of the future

Chapter 4. Carbon balances of forest management strategies up to 2050

Determination of harvest levels

Standing timber stocks, harvests, and carbon storage in the forest ecosystem

The low level of carbon storage in wood products

The magnitude of emissions avoided through substitution, and the associated uncertainties

Carbon budgets are largely positive, but sensitive to the assumptions and parameters used.

Chapter 5. Economic barriers and levers for the implementation of forest management scenarios

Assumptions for the simulation of the 'Extensification' and 'Intensification' scenarios

Impediments to the growth of harvests as projected in the 'Intensification' scenario

The collective efforts required to increase production levels

Trends in the supply-use balance up until 2050

Impacts of intensified management on the economic performance of the sector

Chapter 6. The effects of worsening climate change

What climate trajectories should be adopted?

Combining the GO+ and Margot models to simulate RCP-8.5

The impacts of worsening climate change on forest dynamics and carbon balances

Chapter 7. Estimating the impacts of severe forest disturbances

Why include severe disturbances in simulations?

Three scenarios involving cascading risks

Modelling severe abiotic and biotic disturbances in MARGOT

Consequences to the sector of the damage caused by severe disturbances

Effects of the severe disturbances on the carbon balance of the forestry & wood sector

Originality of this approach

Offsets between components of the carbon balance differentiate the forest management strategies

Different uncertainties can be reduced to differing extents

Carbon balances are affected by worsening climate change and severe disturbances

Further scientific and methodological research

Beyond the carbon balance, other services provided by the forestry & wood sector should also be considered.

Annex. Determination of the areas to be reforested under the 'Intensification' scenario reforestation plan

Choice of areas to be included in a reforestation plan

Allocation of species to classes


List of authors and scientific experts involved in this publication


More contents


Language(s): English

Publisher: Éditions Quae

Edition: 1st edition

Collection: Matière à débattre et décider

Published: 6 october 2023

Reference eBook [ePub]: 02772EPB

Reference Book: 02772

Reference eBook [PDF]: 02772NUM

EAN13 eBook [ePub]: 9782759232802

EAN13 Book: 9782759238330

EAN13 eBook [PDF]: 9782759238347

Interior: Colour

Format (in mm) Book: 145 x 210

Pages count Book: 154

Pages count eBook [PDF]: 154

Weight (in grammes): 320

Size: 3,7 Mo (ePub), 4,7 Mo (PDF)


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