tagged w/ Reforestation
Counting the climate-warming carbon dioxide locked up in forests could offer a cheaper way to curb the greenhouse gas than by considering only emissions from industry and fossil fuels, according to a new study.
Factories, power plants and petroleum-powered vehicles are likely to emit some 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere this century, according to the study released on Thursday in the journal Science.
By contrast, the world's forests hold some 2 trillion tons of carbon. As long as the forests stand, that huge amount of greenhouse gas stays out of the atmosphere, but if some of these woodlands are cleared for farming -- including biofuel crops like ethanol -- they start releasing carbon into the air, where it can add to the problem of climate change.
To keep atmospheric carbon concentrations at 450 parts per million -- the level advised by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to avoid the worst impacts of global warming -- the model that factored in forest carbon had a carbon price of about $1,300 a ton by the year 2095.
The model that considered only industrial and fossil fuel emissions had a carbon price of $3,500 a ton by century's end.
Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is currently between 380 and 385 parts per million, compared with a pre-industrial level of about 280 parts per million.Counting the climate-warming carbon dioxide locked up in forests could offer a cheaper... more
The oldest and largest trees within California's world famous Yosemite National Park are disappearing.
Climate change appears to be a major cause of the loss.
The revelation comes from an analysis of data collected over 60 years by forest ecologists.
They say one worrying aspect of the decline is that it is happening within one of most protected forests within the US, suggesting that even more large trees may be dying off elsewhere.
James Lutz and Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington, Seattle, US and Jan van Wagtendonk of the Yosemite Field Station of the US Geological Survey, based in El Portal, California collated data on tree growth within the park gathered from the 1930s onwards.
Their key finding is that the density of large diameter trees has fallen by 24% between the 1930s and 1990s, within all types of forest.
"These large, old trees have lived centuries and experienced many dry and wet periods," says Lutz. "So it is quite a surprise that recent conditions are such that these long-term survivors have been affected."
The wider the diameter, the more aged the tree (J. A. Lutz).
Large trees are not only older, but they play a distinct and important role within forest ecosystems.
Their canopies help moderate the local forest environment while their understory creates a unique habitat for other plants and animals.
Older, larger trees also tend to seed the surrounding area and crucially are able to withstand fires, short term climatic changes and outbreaks of insect pests that can kill or weaken smaller trees.
But the study by Lutz's team suggests they are no longer faring well.
In a study published in Forest Ecology and Management, the researchers collated all the data that existed on tree growth with the Yosemite National Park. In particular, this included two comprehensive surveys: one conducted in the mid 1930s and another during the 1990s.
"Few studies like this exist elsewhere in the world because of a lack of good measurements from the early 20th Century," says Lutz.
Including 21 species of tree recorded by both surveys, the density of large diameter trees fell from 45 trees per hectare to 34 trees, a decline of 24% in just over 60 years. White Firs (Abies concolor), Lodgepole Pines (Pinus contorta) and Jeffrey Pines (Pinus jeffreyi) were affected the most. Smaller size trees were unaffected.
Trees of this diameter are becoming more scarce (A. J. Larson).
"One of the most shocking aspects of these findings is that they apply to Yosemite National Park," says Lutz. "Yosemite is one of the most protected places in the US. If the declines are occurring here, the situation is unlikely to be better in less protected forests."The oldest and largest trees within California's world famous Yosemite National... more
This brings a whole new meaning to working with nature. I think this is incredible and beautiful.
From the article:
Along Brazil’s coast — home to one of the most threatened forests on Earth — conservationists have enlisted the service of some unique partners to help bring trees back to the country’s shrinking Atlantic Forest: Rodents and birds.
It seems the Brazilian agoutis — large guinea pig-like rodents — are particularly fond of the nuts that fall from the towering Araucaria trees, also know as “monkey puzzle trees.” Their appetite for these nuts means they constantly gather and bury them, scattering the trees’ seeds across acres of threatened forest floor.
When conservationists discovered the rodents’ refined tastes, they began planting lots of Araucaria trees, knowing that — with the help of their rodent partners — the trees would quickly grow and spread to create the canopy that diverse, smaller, shade-loving trees need to grow.
Along with using the agouti rodents to disperse seeds, the Conservancy’s forest architects also look to the birds.
Artificial perches are erected in areas where trees have disappeared. As birds fly across the empty lands between forested areas, they stop to rest on the perches and help spread seeds through defecation and regurgitation.
This odd coalition between humans and animals is just one of the many strategies forest architects are using as they design plans to rebuild the disappearing Atlantic Forest.
end of excerptThis brings a whole new meaning to working with nature. I think this is incredible and... more
China wants to restore its forests by planting trees and bamboo.Chinese people are now aware that reforestation can help the environment by reducing climate change and poverty.China wants to restore its forests by planting trees and bamboo.Chinese people are now... more
If this "biotic pump" theory regarding coastal forests is indeed correct, then it only lends that much more credence to the fact that we need major reforestation efforts to take place globally, especially in North America, now.If this "biotic pump" theory regarding coastal forests is indeed correct,... more
Perhaps it should be the true caretakers of our planet and those who truly care for preserving the sustainability of this planet like Dr. Wangari Maathai of the Greenbelt Movement who should formulate the global strategy regarding saving the world's forests. It seems to me that any other scheme is only going to be used to try to make someone a profit over finding longterm solutions simply because it must be done to save our planet's ability to sustain ours and other species.
This is what angers me about such 'meetings.' A room full of governments and 'experts' who sit there wasting precious time over how this should be handled when we should already be in the DOING SOMETHING stage. Hell, give me the means to do it and I will plant trees for nothing. I will ask for nothing in return because I already know that the trees themselves are the reward. Let's face it, governments are simply not going to do what is necessary to meet this challenge. They don't want to truly regulate any industry and they only wish to formulate bogus schemes to keep corporations happy while using carbon now to manipulate world markets. Cap and trade is the last thing we need now. Unfortunately, what we do need, moral will and courage and ACTION seems to be in very short supply at these meetings.
The G20 is no exception to that. I wondered just this morning as I read up on the lavish meal being cooked for these 'leaders' if they were even thinking of the millions they claim to represent who are starving, homeless, hopeless, and desperate because of their policies as they sat there filling their faces with the best our money could buy. And now at this meeting they argue over what we are going to do about deforestation as if we are still in 1977.
I have a simple solution for them: PLANT THE TREES.Perhaps it should be the true caretakers of our planet and those who truly care for... more
An effort to fight climate change through reforestation, seeded at the grassroots level, has now blossomed into a woodland of over 3 billion trees, with the confirmation that over 300 million were planted in Turkey in 2008, the United Nations announced today.
In response to its success, the Billion Tree Campaign, which is under the patronage of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan Green Belt Movement founder Professor Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert II of Monaco, has already set a new target of 7 billion trees to be planted by the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in December 2009.
The campaign was launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in 2006 as a response not only to the threat of global warming but also to wide sustainability challenges from water supplies to biodiversity loss.
Tree planting remains one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change, according to UNEP. Trees and forests play a vital role in regulating the climate since they absorb carbon dioxide. Deforestation, in turn, accounts for over 20 per cent of the carbon dioxide humans generate, rivalling the emissions from other sources.
Trees also play a crucial role in providing a range of products and services to rural and urban populations, including food, timber, fibre, medicines and energy as well as soil fertility, water and biodiversity conservation.
With slightly over 700 million trees planted to date, Turkey now attains second position in the list of top 10 countries in the Campaign's roll of honour. The leading country remains Ethiopia with 725 million trees planted, UNEP said. Mexico, with 472,404,266 trees planted to date, Kenya with 139,893,668 and Cuba with 137,476,771 round out the top five in the sylvan effort.
Meanwhile, an organization in Romania known as the PRAIS Foundation, in partnership with the Romanian Government and other partners, has confirmed that it has planted over 11 million trees through the national tree-planting movement 'Millions of People, Millions of Trees.'
In total, 3,071,704,993 trees have been planted around the world. So far, another 1,578,796,459 trees have been pledged and have yet to be planted.An effort to fight climate change through reforestation, seeded at the grassroots... more
Human activities have turned the world's third largest rainforest region into a tinderbox that climate change will ignite. So concludes a new study of fire in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.
Investigators examined the fire history of Indonesian forests by analysing half a century of visibility records at local airports.
"During the late 1970s, Borneo changed from being highly fire-resistant to highly fire-prone during drought years," says Robert Field, an atmospheric physicist from the University of Toronto. "The abrupt transition can be attributed to rapid increases in deforestation and population growth."
Field says that human invaders clearing patches of trees for farming destabilised the forest ecosystem, making it drier and more vulnerable to future drought.
Droughts, usually during El Niños in the Pacific, have triggered huge fires in Indonesia seven times since 1960. But Field found that until about 1980, the fires were restricted to Sumatra, where human activity and deforestation rates were highest. The forests of Borneo did not burn.
Then, after humans began invading Borneo's interior on a larger scale, with rates of deforestation rising above 2%, these forests become vulnerable too. The worst fires were in 1997 to 1998, causing smogs in cities hundreds of kilometres away and at least one plane crash.
The biggest source of smoke and carbon-dioxide emissions during forest fires in southeast Asia is not the trees themselves, says Field, but the burning of peat in the deep swamps on which many forests grow. Once alight, the peat can burn for months (see Bog barons: Indonesia's carbon catastrophe).
Field's findings add to growing concern about the Indonesian government's announcement earlier this month that it has ended a two-year moratorium on turning peatlands into oil palm and tree plantations. The move is bound to cause more fires, says Field.
Journal reference: Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/NGEO443)Human activities have turned the world's third largest rainforest region into a... more
I agree with this professor that the carbon loads released from bush and wildfires must be considered in any new global climate agreement. As the IPCC reported, Australia would be prone to more severe wildfires as would the Southwest US and parts of Africa as a result of drought. It may just be more than we can sequester through reforestation if we also do not consider the rate of deforestation through logging in the equation as well. Deforestation already accounts for 20% of the carbon emissions in our atmosphere. Add to that the carbon load of these huge destructive fires and you have an even harder task of balancing the climate.I agree with this professor that the carbon loads released from bush and wildfires... more