» ARTICLE » Carbon store in wood products

Carbon store in wood products

Forests, especially in tropical and subtropical regions such as Malaysia, face threats from deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation; these threats affect both the potential for carbon sequestration and the services of ecosystems that depend on other biodiversity. Photosynthesis in plants will convert carbon from carbon dioxide (CO2) to a simple form of sugar (glucose and other carbohydrates) that can be stored in leaves, stems, branches, and roots. This is also the process of growth and tree development. Oxygen (O2) during photosynthesis will be released back into the atmosphere. The carbon which is stored in the timber will continue to be stored, after the tree is harvested and converted to timber products. There are large amounts of carbon stored in timber products.

The chemical formula for photosynthesis :

6CO2 + 12H2O + photons → C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O
(carbon dioxide + water + light energy → glucose + oxygen + water).

Carbon stocks in forests are permanent and stable. The transfer of carbon from forests to forest products is a negative emission while a positive emission occurs during the process of timber production. Thus, timber products become a counterweight to other carbon emissions during the life cycle of the timber product. Carbon stocks will continue to increase in the form of timber products in each harvesting. When a wood product has reached its useful life, then the carbon stock will be reduced. However, most wood can be recycled (increased wood life), reclaimed for energy production (can reduce the use of fossils), burned as waste, or easily decomposed. Indoor timber use to have a shelf life of 80 years or more (Winistorfer et al. 2005). The accumulated carbon stored in this product is a significant carbon storage.

Researchers have identified that the carbon stored (forests, durable wood products, and wood substitutes) can significantly reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (Lippke et al. 2010). The tree itself stores carbon rather than releasing it into the atmosphere, and each replanting means more trees will store carbon as first reduction. The second reduction is the duration of carbon storage in wood timbers; that carbon will not return to the atmosphere until the wood rots or is burned. Finally, timber products can reduce the need for other products from concrete, steel or plastic which produce more carbon emissions in its production process than wood products. The more wood is used, the more atmospheric carbon will be reduced.

However, differences in the types of wood products, their production, use, and disposal have a significant influence on the amount and duration of carbon storage. Forest management needs to be taken into account, and consider the importance for carbon benefits, the use and disposal of wood products in the goal for this carbon reduction. Exemptions are granted on massive allocations to various wood products and derivative products, including biofuels.

Fabiano Ximenes, Paul Brooks, Chris Wilson and David Giles (2013). Carbon Storage in Engineered Wood Products in Landfills, Forest & Wood Products Australia

Lippke, B and Edmonds, L (2006) Environmental Performance Improvement in Residential Construction: The Impact of Products, Biofuels and Processes. Forest Prod. J 56 (10):58 – 63.

Lippke, B., Wilson, J., Meil, J., and Taylor, A (2010). Characterizing the Importance of Carbon Stored In Wood Products, Wood and Fiber Science, 42(CORRIM Special Issue), 2010, pp. 5–14.

Maggard, A., Boby, L. and Monroe, M. (2017) Florida Trees Store Carbon in Forests and Wood Products, (Retrieved).

Valters Kazulis, Indra Muizniece, Lauma Zihare, Dagnija Blumberga (2017). Carbon storage in wood products. Energy Procedia. Volume 128, September 2017, Pages 558-563

Date of Input: 03/08/2022 | Updated: 03/08/2022 | masridien


Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan