Based on an interdisciplinary perspective the role of wood as a carbon sink, as a multi-purpose material, and as a renewable energy source for the net reduction of greenhouse gases is discussed. We synthesize aspects from engineering, natural and social sciences to better understand the role of wood substitution in CO mitigation. We also formulate some recommendations on filling knowledge gaps that could be useful for policy making regarding how wood substitution could be further expanded. There are sufficient wood resources to substantially increase the use of wood for material and energy purposes. However, a number of factors hinder a wider use of wood for energy and material purposes. Furthermore, an analysis of wood substitution is a very complex issue, since the substitution influencing factors are to be found along the entire wood supply chain and involve several industries, socio-economic and cultural aspects, traditions, price dynamics, and structural and technical change. To improve the knowledge about wood as a substitute for other resources and the implications, it would be helpful to better integrate research from different disciplines on the subject and to cover different scales from a project to an economy-wide level.
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