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Temperate Forests, the World's Greatest Form of Sequestration

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posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 05:11 PM
The following is a major key to solving the climate crisis, but totally unreported by MSM because those forests are also a cash crop for Wall St.

It's been over 25 years since the world became acutely aware of the fact that excess carbon in the atmosphere was causing global warming. In that time scientific research has been ongoing en masse trying to understand the causes and find a solution. In 2007 the IPCC concluded that the annual global carbon dioxide emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation was substantial, and it would be impossible to solve the climate change problem without addressing these emissions. (Forest degradation refers to the loss of biomass in forests through timber harvest, (especially those forests undergoing short term rotation intensive management), fuel wood gathering, fire and other activities which do not result in complete conversion to other land uses).

This point has been stressed by Andrea Tuttle, former head of CDF, who recently stated in data submitted to the REDD program that a core point to be considered in combating AGW was; stabilizing global warming at 2 degrees C cannot be met without addressing global forest loss (Tuttle 2013). In a recent Sacramento Bee article she expounded upon this;

Forests are a huge carbon-storage bank, and represent our largest opportunity to remove carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. When forests are lost to development, fire or degradation, they become a major source of emissions....Forested watersheds also supply much of the state’s water, so ensuring those lands stay healthy above the dams is key to implementing the state Water Action Plan. (Tuttle 2015)

To understand the importance of leaving forests to grow to maturity to solve the climate crisis we first need to understand the importance of trees in providing carbon storage and it's relation to the carbon cycle and climate change. There are two primary ways that the planet naturally captures carbon and sequesters it. One is the ocean, and the other is plant/soil life, and for many years scientists believed that the oceans absorbed the greatest amount. However, recent research from a consortium that included scientists from the Forest Service, USGS, Natural Resources Canada and other research institutions found the opposite to be true, that forests were the greatest carbon sink on the planet (Pan 2011). They also found that all other forms of plant life (brush, agriculture etc) were insignificant in their role as carbon sinks. This is a quote from one of the lead researchers, Dr. Simon Lewis, an ecologist from the University of Leeds, UK;

"Humans are altering the world's forests in a number of ways.....Our research shows these changes are having globally important impacts, which highlights the critical role forests play in the global cycling of carbon and therefore the speed and severity of future climate change. The practical importance of this new information is that if schemes to reduce deforestation are successful they would have significant positive global impacts, as would similar efforts promoting forest restoration."

Not only are forests the greatest carbon sink on this planet, this process of forest sequestration is a positive sink for carbon, whereas the opposite is true for ocean sequestration. When the oceans take in too much carbon as they are doing now, it creates acidic conditions that kill ocean life. Add this to the fact that when a tree absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it releases the oxygen component back into the atmosphere making earth a liveable planet, the importance of letting forests grow and store carbon is the single most important answer to the climate crisis we now face.

Unfortunately there is a disconnect between the concept of letting forests grow to maturity and putting this concept to work locally. Almost all research done to date has focused on tropical and boreal forests in foreign countries, but the greatest form of sequestration on this planet, the temperate redwood, fir and pine forests in California, Oregon and Washington, is often excluded from this research for one simple reason, it is a major underpinning of the U.S. economy.

In a report from 2009, Keith et al found that the biomass potential and carbon carrying capacity of temperate forests worldwide far exceeded that of both tropical and boreal forests combined. They also found that one of the greatest sequestration potentials on this planet was in the Pacific Northwest;

“[T]emperate moist forests occurring where temperatures were cool and precipitation was moderately high had the highest biomass carbon stocks. Temperate forests that had particularly high biomass carbon density included those dominated by Tsuga heterophylla, Picea sitchensis, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Abies amabilis in the Pacific Northwest of North America.” (Keith 2009)

One temperate forest not included in Keith 2009 is the redwood forests of California. Had the redwood forest been included, the carrying capacity of temperate forests compared to tropical and boreal forests would have been even greater. Coastal redwood stands have the largest measured biomass per acre on earth (Jones and O'Hara 2011), and sequester that carbon for 1000 to 2000 years, making the argument for use of the species in long-term carbon sequestration projects self evident.

A report by the California Energy Commission studied the amount of carbon that could be sequestered if riparian buffer zones were expanded in coastal redwood forests. They found that just extending the buffers can lead to estimated benefits of 920-1,270 tons of carbon per kilometer of stream over 100 years in coastal redwood forests.

“The carbon benefit arises from the increased biomass in living and dead trees in the forest exceeding the carbon stored in wood products and logging slash. Additional environmental benefits would include habitat for wildlife, protection for fish breeding and migrating sites, and a reduction in runoff from the land.” (PIER 2004)

The benefits would be even greater if the carbon stored in wood products and slash was not included in the equation, which it shouldn't be, as this carbon will be released over an 80 year period as explained below. Unfortunately the timber industry would like us to believe that harvesting forests on short rotations will help solve the climate crisis. The following is a quote from an industry website;

“Did you know that carbon accounts for around 50% the dry weight of a tree? When trees are harvested and manufactured into products, this carbon remains stored for the life of the wood product.....One of the best ways to address climate change is to use more wood, as it is the most abundant, biodegradable and renewable material on our planet!”

That last sentence is a bold faced lie.

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 05:12 PM
First they use the fact that some of the wood will be put into use for a lengthy period of time as stated above with 80 years usually given as the time that the CO2 will be sequestered. However, up to 60% of the carbon in a young growth redwood and fir forest is in the leaves, branches, cambium layer, roots and soil (Jandl 2007, Bonan 2008, Thomas and Martin 2012), all of which is left to decompose or be burned, releasing it's CO2 to the atmosphere in a short period of time. Of the other 40% which does become wood products, some will be used for a lengthy period of time in homes and other structures, some will be used in short term projects like forms for concrete and roughly 10% or more will be waste wood that is burnt or put in landfills (Smith 2006, Gower 2006).
edit on 21-3-2015 by zworld because: (no reason given)

Having trouble posting. The rest soon.
edit on 21-3-2015 by zworld because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 05:15 PM
And for the less than 30% of carbon in a young forest that might be sequestered for 80 years, this is not the type of sequestration needed to combat climate disruption. 80 years only means that when 2100 rolls around, and the worst of climate change is upon us, all of the wood product carbon being harvested now will have by then come back to haunt us.

The timber industry also claims that most of the carbon is formed in the early years of a trees growth, and very little after that. Once again this is not true as the following quote illustrates;

“Large, old trees do not act simply as senescent carbon reservoirs but actively fix large amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees; at the extreme, a single big tree can add the same amount of carbon to the forest within a year as is contained in an entire mid-sized tree” (Stephenson 2014).

All of the above is especially true for redwood forests. The redwood tree can sequester the greatest amount of carbon of any living thing, taking carbon out of the atmosphere until the day it dies. The world's leading authority on redwood trees, Stephen Sillett, recently released a study that showed clearly that the redwood tree is constantly adding significant amounts of carbon to it's structure. The following quote highlights this fact;

“The oldest tree we measured produced more heartwood in its main trunk over 651 years (351 m3) than contained in any tree we measured less than 1500 years old. Increasing wood production as trees age is a mechanism underlying the maintenance of biomass accumulation during forest development and the carbon-sink capacity of old-growth forests” (Sillett 2009).

In fact, one of the primary reasons we are in this climate crisis today is due to the liquidation of the original old-growth forests that existed before Europeans arrived (Alig 2006, Harmon 1990). An old growth redwood tree can store over 2,000,000 pounds of carbon, removing 6,000,000 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere. These forests are now long gone, and today, except for a miniscule percentage of the carbon that is still found in Victorian structures and slowly decomposing stumps, the rest has been released to the atmosphere.

Saving other conifer forests are equally crucial to our survival, as stated above. Research on public timberlands (primarily fir and pine) in the Pacific Northwest found that if no timber were harvested, it would result in an annual increase of 17–29 million metric tons of carbon (MMTC) sequestered per year, while continuing to employ intensive management practices would result in annual carbon losses of 27–35 MMTC per year (Deproa 2008). Another recent study found that global forests increased their net sink capacity in recent years due to a large-scale re-growth of secondary forests in temperate regions, especially Russia, where there was a significant 35% increase in the amount of carbon being sequestered primarily due to a significant reduction in timber harvested (Pan 2011, Canadell and Raupach 2008).

The other argument the timber industry uses to justify their practices is that forests themselves heat the atmosphere due to reduced albedo (reflectivity) effect. Once again they are using bits and pieces of data to support an unsupportable preposition. In 2009 a study was released that came to the conclusion that cutting down the world's forests would actually cool the planet due to increased albedo. What was being modeled was the effect of removing the canopy of boreal forests to let the snow covered ground increase reflectivity, since forests have less albedo effect (are dark and absorb more of the sun’s heat) than snow covered terrain (which is lighter and reflects the sun’s heat). But this only applies to forests in the far northern latitudes. It doesn't apply to the redwood and low elevation fir forests of Northwestern California where snow is rare. Nor does it take into consideration the fact that forests also cool the ground in the summer time while producing water vapour and clouds which increases sky albedo.

When all the other beneficial aspects of a forest are taken into consideration it becomes obvious that there is no logical reason for harvesting trees when addressing climate change. Instead, by letting our redwood and other conifer forests grow to full maturity, we are taking the most responsible action we could take to alleviate the climate crisis. On the other hand, by continuing to clearcut trees in short rotations as Green Diamond, SPI and other companies are doing, and not allowing forests to continue sequestering and storing carbon for a longer period of time, we are doing the worst, most irresponsible thing imaginable for planetary survival.
edit on 21-3-2015 by zworld because: (no reason given)

edit on 21-3-2015 by zworld because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 05:23 PM
a reply to: zworld

Actually no. The greatest engine for sequestration of CO2 is in the oceans. The ocean creatures actually absorb up to 90% (I've heard anywhere from 60% to 90%) of all atmospheric CO2 through the smaller biologicals like plankton. Trees are great though, they do assist in filtering pollutants from the atmosphere, but don't forget about grass and shrubbery ;-) I also noticed you quoted the IPCC. I don't know what anyone else feels, but for me, that's like asking a rapist for a judgement on another rape. But then, the whole things is a scam anyway, can you say conflict of interest? Sure, knew ya could ;-)

Cheers - Dave

posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 07:37 PM
a reply to: zworld

I love your fire bird. That said, a linky-poo would be helpful.


posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 08:11 PM
Or, you know, we could just live in the forest like we're supposed to, in harmony and symbiosis with the environment around us instead of trying to manipulate, control and conquer it.

The phrase "above the dams" is very revealing. You want the forests that are furthest away from the cities to grow to full maturity, yet you say nothing about the dams that have flooded (destroyed) millions of acres of habitat. As if only one area is sacred.

Anyway, I think this is just another card being played to make our forests a no-go zone for us peasants. Another statistic to be brought out when they start discussing installing checkpoints and detention cells at a Rest Area near you (well, they've already done that, they just haven't executed the plan yet--do an ATS search on it).

They want to keep you in the cities where they can more easily track and control you at all times. It's coming, my friends. And they'll use this anthropogenic climate change nonsense to justify it.

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 02:43 AM
Iv got into permaculture recently and that seems to have all the right answers when it comes to reforesting the globe, the principles can be applied in the biggest forests to the smallest gardens and even reforesting the deserts.

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 11:50 AM

originally posted by: FyreByrd
a reply to: zworld

I love your fire bird. That said, a linky-poo would be helpful.


Thanks FyreByrd. Here are the citations for the above minus Sillett which I have somewhere but is readily available on the net;


Alig et al 2006. Forest Carbon Dynamics in the Pacific Northwest (USA) and the St. Petersburg Region of Russia:
Comparisons and Policy Implications, Climatic Change, Jan 2006, pp. 1 -26

Bonan 2008. Ecological Climatology (2nd edition)

Deproa et al 2008. Public land, timber harvests, and climate mitigation: Quantifying carbon sequestration potential on U.S.
public timberlands. Forest Ecology and Management Volume 255, Issues 3–4, 20 March 2

Gower et al 2006. Following the Paper Trail: The Impact of Magazine and Dimensional Lumber Production on Greenhouse
Gas Emissions. Washington, D.C.: Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment.

Harmon et al 1990. Effects on Carbon Storage of Conversion of Old-Growth Forests to
Young Forests - Science 9 February 1990:Vol. 247. no. 4943, pp. 699 – 70; 008, Pages 1122–1134

Jandl et al 2007., “How Strongly Can Forest Management Influence Soil Carbon Sequestration?,” Geoderma 137 (2007):

Jones and O'Hara 2011. Carbon Storage in Young Growth Coast Redwood Stands. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-

Keith et al 2009. Re-Evaluation Of Forest Biomass Carbon Stocks And Lessons From The World’s Most Carbon-Dense
Forests. PNAS July 14, 2009 vol. 106 no. 28 11635–11640; www.pnas.orgcgidoi10.1073pnas.0901970106

Pan et al 2011. A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World's Forests. Science 333, 988 (2011);

Pier 2004. Baseline Development And Estimation Of Carbon Benefits For Extending Forested Riparian
Buffer Zones In Two Regions In California. Public Interest Energy Research Program: Final Project Report.

Smith et al 2006. Methods for Calculating Forest Ecosystem and Harvested Carbon with Standard Estimates for Forest
Types of the United States. Northeastern Research Station General Technical Report NE-343

Stephenson et al 2014. Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size. Doi:10.1038/nature12914
Thomas and Martin 2012. Carbon Content of Tree Tissues: A Synthesis Forests. 2012, 3, 332-352;

Tuttle 2015. Special to The Sacramento Bee.

Tuttle 2013. Comments on the Draft ROW recommendations: Linking California's cap-and-trade program with programs to
reduce deforestation in Acre and Chiapas.

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 11:50 AM
Bobs uruncle, that wasn't the findings of the following report which was a multi agency and many nation research project. Highly respected. However, there is still much we don't understand about sequestration, both land based and ocean based.

Pan et al 2011. A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World's Forests. Science 333, 988 (2011);

edit on 22-3-2015 by zworld because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 11:59 AM
a reply to: NthOther

The "above the dams" quote was from Tuttle, and was in reference to the importance of forests for clean water. I totally agree that it excludes below the dam which is equally important of course, but used the quote as is.

In reality every tree on earth holds the key to sequestering excess carbon.

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 12:07 PM
Your "research" (or whatever it's) seems misleading or simply false to me.

Do you know anything about forest thinning? In the pacific northwest, did you know it was common in the past for them to burn down? Dense brush wasn't as common as today. And did you know that the thick dense forests we have today are unnatural because they're second and third growth stand which was planted too closely? So keep in mind some of the logging isn't purely for economic reasons, it's to thin them. This actually makes them healthier. They become better carbon sinks as well.

This idea that we have to choose between environment or economy is not true. We can have both. Research is proving this to be the case. Forest management in hte pacific northwest is FAR more than just some greedy tree cutters. You know, they're scientists, right?

He3re's some information on the thinning practices and why they do it:

And here: - Forest-thinning could help prevent another year of destructive fires, state officials say...

Historically, small fires served to clear some of the trees naturally, but in the past century fire crews have extinguished many of those fires to protect nearby homes and businesses. That has left many forests overgrown and more susceptible to major fires, Everett said.

“The problem is we’ve taken fire out of the forest system in the past century,” said Peter Moulton, the state’s bioenergy policy coordinator. “If you’re going to suppress fire, you have to figure out some way to mimic its role in forest health.”

edit on 22-3-2015 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 12:47 PM
a reply to: jonnywhite

I totally agree that thinning is very important where it is needed. In fact, we need to go back to using smaller logs for log homes again and get away from the 2x4 framed house. But what we have in the redwood region isn't thinning. It happens, but only to increase growth in a tree farm which then gets clear cut 10 or 20 years later. And much of the thinned wood, too small diameter to go to a mill, usually gets burnt on site, releasing whatever carbon was stored in the wood, at least in privately held commercial forests in Northwestern California.

Companies like SPI and Green Diamond are not logging responsibly, or thinning the forests to let them grow and be better sequesters. All one needs to do is take a look at Google Earth for Little River Humboldt County, or SPIs holdings in the Lassen and Shasta areas.

posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 02:15 PM

originally posted by: Lompyt
Iv got into permaculture recently and that seems to have all the right answers when it comes to reforesting the globe, the principles can be applied in the biggest forests to the smallest gardens and even reforesting the deserts.

Yes. Permaculture is very important. Am looking forward to the new film "Inhabit" coming out on Earth Day. Looks to be excellent.

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