LULUCF legislation – the forest's role in EU climate policy

The forest is in focus as the EU discusses a new legislative proposal on how to integrate Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) into its climate and energy framework.

The proposed LULUCF legislation regulates carbon accounting in this sector. A major problem with the Commission's proposal is that it is likely to hinder an increase in the use of forest raw materials and thereby impede the replacement of fossil-based raw materials with renewables.

Designed properly, the LULUCF legislation has the potential of being a climate decision that contributes to the increased use of sustainable renewable material and the same time promoting active and sustainable forest management. If not, there is a risk that it will hinder the Swedish forestry sector and growth in the bioeconomy.

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation is of the opinion that:

  • We must maintain national self-governance on the management of our forests. This will ensure continued optimisation, both of the potential of our forests and of the production of new, sustainable bio-based products.
  • Harvesting levels should be calculated on the basis of future harvesting opportunities and not based on historic intensity in forestry, as proposed by the EU commission. To exemplify, if a forestry reference level for harvesting based on historical intensity were to be implemented as proposed, an increase in harvesting for building wooden housing would be reported as emissions – despite the fact that forest growth in Sweden is greater than the harvest and that the standing forest volume in Sweden's forests is constantly growing. Future harvesting opportunities should be based on what is biologically feasible and sustainable. Historic intensity measures how the market for wood products and wood based energy has been. Future sustainable harvesting refers to the highest potential harvesting level we can achieve today provided that the availability of wood to future generations is at least as good as it is today.
  • Offsetting emissions in other sectors by permitting use of credits from managed forests should not be allowed. This would be devastating to the target of decreasing emissions and to the aim of maintaining a growing bioeconomy as part of the solution to mitigate climate change.