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Forest Carbon Tool

Forests play an important role in the capture & removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and subsequent storage in forests biomass and soils, a process called sequestration. The Forest Carbon Tool provides indicative data for potential carbon sequestration associated with new forest enterprises

The planting of new forests is a highly significant land-based measure to help address the effects of climate change. Forests play an important role in the capture and removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, a process called sequestration. Sequestered carbon is accumulated in the form of forest biomass, deadwood, litter and in forest soils. The rate of carbon uptake is affected by many factors, such as:

  • tree species
  • productivity
  • forest age
  • soil type
  • ree stocking levels
  • forest management activities
  • previous land use.

Carbon is also released from forest ecosystems resulting from natural processes including respiration by trees and decomposition of soil organic matter. This also occurs from planned activities such as timber harvesting.

Forests are deemed to be ‘carbon sinks’ when the rate of carbon uptake exceeds the rate of carbon loss. The long term storage of carbon in harvested wood products (HWPs) and the substitution of selected wood products for fossil fuel energy sources are also important carbon mitigation pathways.

forest carbon diagramThe Forest Carbon Tool provides indicative carbon sequestration trends for Grant and Premium Category (GPC) planting options available under the Forestry Programme 2014-2020. It also provides indicative carbon sequestration values for a range of selected species/species groups. The tool uses an internationally-recognised modelling framework (CFS-CBM) which has been calibrated for Irish forestry conditions. Data gaps exist for certain forest scenarios and categories. In this regard, updates and enhancements will be incorporated into future iterations of the tool subject to the availability and validation of appropriate data sources.

The Forest Carbon Tool takes user-defined descriptive information on the forest and combines it with existing growth models to estimate potential carbon storage over the lifetime of the forest.

This tool provides indicative information only and is not intended to provide definitive estimates on any particular forest. The tool has been developed to contribute to the provision of general information on the capacity of forests to store carbon. It also highlights the complexities and challenges of estimating carbon across different species, soil types and ages.

Access the forest carbon tool