African timber cities: carbon sinks with development benefits?
Carbon emissions from concrete and steel building construction are a major cause of climate change. The building and construction sector currently accounts for around 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Rapid urbanisation in developing countries requires large-scale building, including housing for
low-income people. Mass timber is a newly developed category of engineered wood products, laminated from smaller boards into larger structural components.
This paper described how, substituted for concrete and steel, mass timber is a carbon-absorbing, energy-efficient, lower-cost, durable and mendable building material that can help deliver affordable urban housing and rural livelihood opportunities. It is suitable for Africa, where trees grow faster than in temperate climates. Africa can mitigate climate change and achieve other developmental benefits using mass timber in its construction sector. Governments and other development actors can support the transition.