The carbon cycle is affected when forests are harvested. CO2 is released during harvesting and manufacture of wood products and by the use and disposal of wood. In the IPCC recommended default approach (Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines), all CO2 emissions and removals associated with forest harvesting and the oxidation of wood products are accounted for by the country in the year of harvesting (removal). The proposed method recommends that storage of carbon in forest products be included in a national inventory only in the case where a country can document that existing stocks of long term forest products are in fact increasing. Harvested wood products (HWP) according to the IPCC good practice guidance (2003) include wood and paper products. It does not include carbon in harvested trees that are left at harvest sites. Methodologies and good practice for the estimating and reporting of emissions and removals from HWP can be found in Appendix 3a.1 in the IPCC good practice guidance for LULUCF (2003).
At its twenty-sixth session (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/4, paragraphs 59-61), issues related to harvested wood products (HWP) were considered together with the SBSTA agenda item on IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. The SBSTA recalled that, at its twenty-fourth session, it had invited Parties in a position to do so to voluntarily report on HWP in their national inventories in a manner consistent with current UNFCCC reporting guidelines (FCCC/SBSTA/2006/5, paragraph 68). At its twenty-sixth session, the SBSTA decided to discuss reporting of HWP in the context of its consideration of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines.
In addition to issues on reporting, the SBSTA also considered other issues relating to HWP. These issues, including socio-economic and environmental implications and several potential impacts arising from the application of the approaches for accounting of emissions and removals relating to HWP, were raised at SBSTA 21 (FCCC/SBSTA/2004/13, paragraph 31). At this session, the SBSTA agreed to consider these other issues relating to HWP in the context of the consideration of broader issues relating to land use, land-use change and forestry, at future sessions.
The consideration, by the SBSTA, of the agenda item on harvested wood products started at its fourth session. This section provides an overview of the issues relating to HWP that has been considered by the SBSTA over the years between SBSTA 4 to SBSTA 24.