Sustainable Forestry

Decarbonization Avenue : Sustainable Forestry

Forests represent a large and massive carbon sink. As a result, any process that destroys forests results in both lowered CO2 capture and higher CO2 emissions resulting from the additional biomass waste generated from deforestation. On the other hand, processes that nurture forests through preservation, or through expansion of the forest areas can have a significant positive influence on decarbonization.

Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation account for about 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and forest preservation and afforestation hold significant potential for decarbonization. But forest preservation and other sustainable forestry practices are easier said than done. Many large industries have depended on forests for their raw material and feedstock for decades. In addition, nearly 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on these forests for food, water, shelter and energy.

The importance of sustainable forestry for decarbonization has not been lost on many key stakeholder segments, and as a result we today have over a dozen influential organizations focussed on this sector, operating in different regions. These may not be enough, given the magnitude of the efforts needed, but they definitely provide a good starting point.

In the last few years, one of the prominent approaches to sustainable forestry has been its  integration with corporate carbon offsets, leading to a large and steady flow of financial support for these efforts.

Many innovative efforts are underway too. For the 2020-2030 period, expect such innovations especially in use of drones for forest monitoring and analytics, carbon trading exchanges & solutions, digital tools for conservation, large-scale platforms for coordinating reforestation, and micro-forestry.

Decarbonization potential

A mature tree (about 10 years old) will absorb about 20 Kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.

12-15 billion trees are cut down per year, leading to almost ten million hectares of forest lost each year to deforestation. The world is estimated to have about 3 trillion trees.

Even if we completely stop deforestation and plant an equivalent 12-15 billion new trees (saplings) a year, the total additional decarbonization effect will be about 3 billion tons of CO2 sequestered annually in about ten years from now - just under 6% of total annual CO2 equivalent emissions globally.

The above estimates show that just stopping deforestation or even massive tree plantations are not the silver bullets for global decarbonization as they are made out to be by some, but they nevertheless represent a key decarbonization avenue.

There are of course many other sustainable ecosystem & biodiversity benefits from forests that go beyond decarbonization.

Industries impacted

  • Agriculture & farming
  • Internet & online solutions
  • Computers & software
  • Construction & real estate
  • Environmental services
  • Food & beverages
  • Life sciences
  • Paper & forest products
  • Textile & apparel
  • Waste management
  • Water

Latest News on Sustainable Forestry

Themes & Topics

  • Reversing desertification

    • Reversing desertification with livestock

    • Permaculture for reversing desertification

    • Knowledge sharing of best practices

    • Financing models

    • Capacity building

    • Choice of optimal plant species

    • Soil management techniques

    • Water management techniques

    • Use of seed banks

  • Forest protection & restoration

    • Protecting vegetative cover

    • Biodiversity management

    • Integrated land and water management

    • Forest wildlife management

    • Forest soil management

    • Water & rivers management

    • Sustainable logging

    • Sustainable forest waste management

    • Governance and policy making for sustainable forestry

    • Monitoring, analytics & reporting

    • Involvement & engagement of key stakeholders including forest tribes & communities

    • Sustainable forest certification

    • Financing for sustainable forestry


  • Community forests

  • Systems and operational models for multi-stakeholder involvement & engagement

  • Awareness creation & education

  • Organizations involved:

    • Inter-governmental & international

      • UN REDD & REDD+

    • National organizations

    • NGOs

  • Education & capacity building

  • Policies

  • Use of IT & digital tools

    • Blockchain for sustainable forestry projects

  • Market opportunities

    • Carbon credits & offsets

  • Case studies

  • Region-specific initiatives

    • Asia

    • N America

    • S America

    • Africa

    • Middle East

    • Europe

    • Oceania

    • Antarctica

    • Arctic

    • Greenland