Expanding commercial conifer forestry is the most efficient strategy for achieving climate change mitigation through woodland creation, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The ground-breaking research led by Bangor University, applied dynamic life cycle assessment to the UK’s national planting strategy of 30,000 ha yr-1 from 2020-2050. A total of 33 different future scenarios were modelled.

An essential feature of the research, which is one of the first and most rigorous studies of its kind worldwide, is the inclusion of the carbon flows in the whole system: soil, trees, forestry operations and harvested wood product value chain.

The research does not advocate one type of forest only. It merely concludes that where climate change mitigation is the main policy goal this is best delivered through a commercial conifer planting regime.

Our Forest Policy Briefing summarises policy implications deriving from this research.