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Between 2009 and 2019, Poland’s forest area increased by almost 190,000 hectares, to 9.26 million hectares, according to State Forests data. At the same time, the wood resources in forests, which currently amount to 341 million m3, have increased by 15%. Experts of the Polish Wooden Houses point out that every year more wood grows in forests than is harvested, which is important from the point of view of its use in the construction industry. Wood, as the only building material, is renewable.
Immediately after World War II (in 1945), the forest cover in Poland was around 20%. Since then, the forest area has steadily increased and currently covers around 30% of the land area. It is estimated that thanks to the programme for increasing forest cover, in 2050 over 33% of the land area in Poland will be covered by forests.
Why such an increase in forest cover? Every year, more wood grows in Polish forests than is harvested. This is the so-called net growth leading to an increase in the forest stock. Currently, it amounts to around 70%, which is the amount of raw material harvested in Poland in relation to the increase in wood mass. The remaining 30% increases the stock of the only fully renewable building material.
– Modern, sustainable and ecological wood construction requires access to adequate amounts of structural timber. Contrary to popular belief, it is one of the most ecological technologies, friendly both to nature and to inhabitants. Statistics show that there are more and more forests in Poland. I am convinced that in 2050, Poland will be even greener, while the share of wooden construction will increase at the same time,” says Andrzej Schleser, member of the Management Board for Commercial Affairs of Polskie Domów Drewnianych S.A.
In the report “State of Europe’s Forest 2020”, which is the result of cooperation between experts and specialists from all over Europe, we read that forests store carbon dioxide and sustainably provide wood, which is the most ecological building material. Moreover, the weight of carbon stored in the biomass of European forests has increased by half in the last 30 years.
Limiting the progressive warming of the climate, caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide), is one of the major challenges facing the world. Increased use of wood in construction will help achieve this goal. At the moment, the entire life cycle of buildings, according to UN estimates, accounts for one third of annual greenhouse gas emissions. And as experts from Bangor University in Wales have calculated – one cubic metre of wood used instead of concrete equals over one tonne of CO2 less in the air.
– According to the Paris Agreement, European Union countries are to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, we need to change our approach to many of the usual ways of thinking, including those related to construction. By building with wood, we not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but also make use of the only fully renewable building material, concludes Andrzej Schleser.