The annual growth of forests in Finland is 3.5–4 cubic meters. m / ha per year, while at the same time in similar climatic conditions in neighboring Karelia – only 1.5 cubic meters. m / hectare per year. The Finns achieve this increase by repeatedly taking care of the forest. The model dominates in our country: he did clean felling, planted new trees and forgot the plot for 100 years, so the next clearing can be done. The forest will definitely grow on its own. But without care, it grows more slowly.
How to increase the absorption of greenhouse gases from forests? To do this, throughout the life of the trees, it is necessary to continuously improve the conditions for their growth by carrying out forestry. This is the name of a complex of clearing, clearing, thinning, the application of which can significantly increase the annual growth of forest stands (the whole woody vegetation that forms a forest. – Vedomosti. Ecology), and therefore its absorption. CO2.
In the process of photosynthesis, the forest absorbs carbon dioxide, which is stored in its ecosystem and remains in it for a long time. The goal of any climate forest project is to increase the carbon sequestration of forest ecosystems compared to a natural forest scenario or a reference scenario. The basic scenario in our forests is a cycle of forest development from the state of logging – wind – burning to the stage of a mature forest. He is only 100 years old.
Only through the introduction of continuous forest care can the result of increasing CO2 intake be achieved. A simple planting of forests will not give such an effect, even if one considers that in our climatic conditions and without planting seedlings, the areas are overgrown with forests. This effect is called self-healing.
In order to determine the impact that a project will have on climate forest, we need to calculate the carbon capture of self-development (baseline) and then the carbon capture of active forest management (improved scenario). The difference between the two absorption scenarios in tons of CO2 will give us an additional result that can be utilized and converted into carbon units (CU). But revenue generation is only possible if the forest climate project is certified, preferably in line with international standards. The most common global standard is the Verra VCS (verified carbon standard).
It is also possible to achieve “climate additiveness” by reducing CO2 emissions in forests, for example, from forest and peat fires. Our analysis has shown that at the current $ 5–10 AE price level, projects for high conservation forests, peat irrigation and, to some extent, deforestation in a treeless zone are profitable. If the EU raises the price to $ 20-30, forest fires and intensive reforestation projects will pay off.
We estimate the possibility of cost-effective forest climate projects at a cost of $ 5-10 to about 20-30 million tons of CO2 per year. Their potential at US $ 20–30 is 120–150 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The implementation and certification of forest climate projects will make it possible to use this amount of carbon units to neutralize carbon dioxide emissions by Russian companies.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Rosleskhoz, in the draft roadmap for the development of low carbon emissions under the guise of climate change, offer large companies to invest in reforestation and reduce fires. The first of these is not climate and the second is not yet cost effective. Also, there is no methodology for the implementation of projects for the climate of forest fires in northern forests, it must be developed. The approach of state bodies is still aimed at submitting forest management projects as forest-climate projects, but this is far from the same. This approach can not be recognized as effective in achieving the low carbon emissions development targets and the country’s business interests in carbon emissions.
Many Russian companies have already announced their commitment to carbon neutrality. Carbon sequestration is possible through the introduction of technologies to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and projects to inject CO2 into underground reservoirs are also being considered. However, achieving zero emissions through such technologies can only be achieved at a huge cost.
In international practice, it is considered justified to neutralize up to 25–30% of current CO2 emissions due to natural and climatic solutions. However, their use should be made in conjunction with the reduction of direct CO2 emissions, preferably at the end of immediate carbon-free activities. Companies planning to spend most of their carbon footprint reduction through natural and climatic solutions (for example, the EU market – Vedomosti. Ecology) are at risk of being criticized by environmental organizations and business partners.
To become carbon neutral, Russia must compensate for about 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2060. That figure already takes into account the contribution of Russian forests to carbon sequestration. Through active measures in cost-effective climate projects, it is possible to increase CO2 absorption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in forests by a maximum of 250-300 million tonnes per year. Thus, 2/3 of the emission reductions will have to be implemented through industrial technologies. Russian forests will not be able to secure Russia’s energy transition, but they can help it – by following forest climate best practices.
EU countries and other low-carbon markets will only be able to recognize the effects of Russian companies’ carbon offsets through forest climate projects if they are carried out under international certification schemes, either under Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement or within the standards Verra VCS. That is why it is extremely important to harmonize Russian and international approaches to forestry climate change.