The use of wood fuel is sustainable on the condition that it is converted to heat with reasonable efficiency. Wood that is burned in fireplaces at very low efficiency is wasted for just the brief pleasure of watching the flames. On the other hand, if wood is burned in a modern EPA certified stove or fireplace, its use can immediately reduce the consumption of one of the other heating fuels like oil, natural gas or propane. This type of displacement is important because it is one of the ways we can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that are linked to the problem of global climate change.
Interesting Facts about Part of the Natural Carbon Cycle:
After a tree reaches maturity it dies because of disease, rot and insect infestation and falls to the forest floor. There, it decomposes, a process of slow oxidation which emits CO2. In fact, whether a tree is processed into firewood and burned, or whether it dies and decomposes on the forest floor, the same amount of CO2 is emitted. In either case, the space the tree had occupied in the forest is now opened up to sunlight that spurs the growth of young trees on that site, increasing their absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The process of CO2 absorption by trees and its emission back to the atmosphere during decomposition or burning of wood is the natural, renewable carbon cycle!