Forest covers 37 % of our country with an annual net uptake of around 23 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. It is possible to increase net uptake in forests through improved forest management, and with time, increase the level of annual C sequestration on a national level.
NIBIO provides relevant knowledge for directorates and ministries for use in, for example, Climate Cure 2030 and the government's climate plan published in January 2021. Some of the mitigation measures that will achieve an increase in CO2 uptake in Norwegian forests in the long-term include improved regeneration with higher planting density than is the current practice, and increased use of improved plant material.
Traditional forest-management measures will increase CO2 uptake, but may also improve tree quality. Better quality is important because it implies a higher proportion of sawn wood and more timber, which can be used for long-lasting wood products. This increases the climate benefit of the trees due to longer carbon storage in products.
Most of the forestry measures will only have an effect in the long-term, partly because there will be limited land available each year—only a small part of a forest is felled and regenerated each year—and, partly because it takes some time for new forest to start to grow really well. However, to achieve the potential benefit that will only be realized well into the future, it is important for these measures to be implemented as quickly as possible.
Climate change is projected to raise temperatures and increase precipitation in Norway, which could provide better growing conditions for many trees. However, climate change is also projected to increase the risk of damage to forests as a consequence of more frequent and extreme natural disturbances, such as windfall, insect damage, and forest fires, which will contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Preventive forest management can limit emissions from such disturbances.