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Over its lifetime, a tree shifts from being a vacuum cleaner for atmospheric carbon to an emitter. A tree absorbs roughly 1,500 pounds of CO2 in its first 55 years. After that, its growth slows, and it takes in less carbon. Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that CO2 gets released.
Last year, the Canadian government commissioned a study to determine the quantity of carbon sequestered by the country's woodlands, which account for a tenth of global forests. It hoped to use the CO2-gathering power of 583 million acres of woods to offset its Kyoto Protocol-mandated responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions. No such luck. The report found that during many years, Canadian forests actually give up more carbon from decomposing wood than they lock down in new growth.
A well-managed tree farm acts like a factory for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, so the most climate-friendly policy is to continually cut down trees and plant new ones. Lots of them. A few simple steps: Clear the oldest trees and then take out dead trunks and branches to prevent fires; landfill the scrap. Plant seedlings and harvest them as soon as their powers of carbon sequestration begin to flag, and use the wood to produce only high-quality durable goods like furniture and houses. It won't make a glossy photo for the Sierra Club's annual report, but it will take huge amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere.
Of the three places where carbon is stored—atmosphere, oceans, and land biosphere—approximately 93 percent of the CO 2 is found in the oceans. The atmosphere, at about 750 petagrams of carbon (a petagram [Pg] is 10 15 grams), has the smallest amount of carbon.
Originally posted by TheRedneck
Besides, if it garners enough attention, maybe Canada will put aside enough forest to shame the US into doing more.
The pessimists, worrywarts and naysayers out there may want us all to feel down and despondent but the fact is, being the world's worst per capita contributors to greenhouse gases means we're actually number one at something. And there are few things–outside of hockey–that we've ever been number one at. So, come on all you proud Canadians out there, let's hear it: "We're number one! We're number one! We're number one!"
It's true that this topic has been much discussed in the Canadian media –and it certainly did make a big splash in an earlier piece of mine, Canada: Top Ten Things To Love and Hate, where it once again came in at number one. But to have commentators in other countries taking note of our unique status like this is definitely something extra-special that's clearly worth celebrating.
I mean, to be this noticed and discussed by people around the globe when it comes to the most critical issue facing the planet today really does make one feel rather lucky to be a Canadian right now.
It's great to know that–though usually a small player on the world stage–when it comes to the big stories of our times such as this one, we truly can, at times, be world-class contributors, pulling far more than our own weight.
We're number one: A positive take on Canada's dismal environmental record
Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
Although they are banning logging, I would think that they have a way of clearing trees that need to be replace, but that is a great point.