Sustainably produced tropical timber can be used in construction as a substitute for other materials with larger carbon footprints. Photo: Michel Vernay/CIRAD

The carbon footprint of a product is the net greenhouse-gas emissions it causes in its lifetime, from production, through use, to disposal. Because wood absorbs carbon from the air and stores it, it has a relatively small carbon footprint if grown in well-managed forests, even when destroyed at the end of its life. Moreover, wood has good thermal properties, meaning that its use can help reduce the amount of energy consumed in heating and cooling buildings.

Using sustainably produced wood as a substitute for materials with larger carbon footprints can help mitigate climate change. For example, timber can be used instead of steel in the construction of houses and other buildings, and woodfuel can be used as a replacement for fossil fuels.

ITTO promotes sustainable forest management, sustainable forest industries and the development of legal and sustainable wood supply chains, thereby enabling substitution with wood as a strategy to mitigate climate change.

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