Forests and parks – Mitigation
In the mitigation of climate change, parks and forests for recreational use, outdoor activities and camping play several roles that should be given consideration when the forest management plans are prepared.
Forests store carbon into the woods and soil
Old forests that are typically used for recreational use and outdoor activities have a notably large and long-term carbon storage stored in the vegetation and soil. Forest treatment should therefore care for these carbon storages by keeping loggings as minimal as possible and leaving dead trees in the forest. At the same time however, the need for thinning the woods should be monitored to prevent excess shadiness from weakening the growth of the trees. In addition, a close eye should be kept on the possible risk of developing insect damage in the forest from fallen trees.
Changing old forests to other use should be avoided. Approximately 10kg of carbon per square metre is stored in trees and their roots. If a hectare of forest is cut down to make room for residential buildings or a field, the carbon storage is decreased by 100 tons. This corresponds to approximately 370 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which, in turn, corresponds to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of approximately thirty Finns.
Recreational use of forests reduces emissions indirectly
By acting as recreational areas where people can spend their leisure time instead of more energy-consuming hobbies, such as indoor sports or use of electronic medias, forests and parks can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions indirectly. Attractive areas are easier to plan if the needs and wishes of local residents are heard.
In addition, walking, jogging and cycling in the forests and parks can be promoted by pedestrian and bicycle ways that are in good condition and safe and connect naturally to the rest of the road system. Berries and mushrooms picked from forests as well as vegetables and fruits from garden lots are close-produced vegetable food and can reduce the emissions from the dietary regimen of local residents.