The forest’s role in providing services to modern society is constantly growing. Not only do we want to use the forest for timber and pulp production, conservation of forest biodiversity and for recreation, but other ecosystem services as production of bioenergy, textile fibers and mitigating climate changes are increasingly important.
The forest is of huge importance for the climate. When trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the air and reduce its concentration in the atmosphere, thus, the forest works as a carbon sink. Swedish forests absorb between 17-23 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is more than the country's overall emissions from transport (Source: Forestry Research Institute of Sweden). It is also positive for the climate to use wood as a renewable resource instead of fossil fuels, concrete or steel.
The forest has also a great social value. Forests are important not only for recreation but also for human health. According to estimates by IUFRO within the project "Forests provide health and well-being", up to a quarter of the most important drugs is derived from the forest. It is also proven that spending time in the forest, especially in deciduous forests, helps people who suffer from burn-out to recover more quickly. In some European countries as much as ten percent of the forest has recreation as the main objective.
To meet these increased demands for forest products and services, one solution could be to greatly increase production in some specific areas while protecting others. In this way, intensive forestry can help to solve current and future conflicts around the use of the forest. However, more knowledge is needed. Combining all of above mention elements in broad, holistic studies on the potential and effects of intensive forestry is the purpose of the Asa High-yield Experimental Forest.