No harvesting forests is not good for the climate

All agree that it is bad for the climate to chop down the tropical rainforest. But the forest industry claims that in United Kingdom the opposite is true for the climate to chop down the forest and cultivate it. Here we will address their arguments one by one to show that the current UK forestry climate benefits are questionable.

Adolescent forest store the carbon. It’s true. But back a little: before the young forest, there was a clear-cut, and before clearing a fully grown forest. The full-grown forests contained more carbon than young forest because the trees were rough, and this carbon is released largely out when the trees used to make paper, fuel, and wood products. A forest that will remain also continues to store carbon in the soil in the long term, including through slowly decomposing plant material and fungi thread system in the ground. When the forest kalavverkas released not only the carbon in the trees, but the land is disturbed and greenhouse gases leaking from the felling area for at least ten years. About a quarter of United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions come from clearcutting.

Eventually, the forest grows back up and store the carbon in trees and soil, but if an ancient forest kalavverkas it takes a long time before it stores a lot of carbon again. We have not the time! According to the IPCC, we must reduce greenhouse gases immediately to avoid an even warmer climate. In the long term stored carbon in forest and land again, but in the short term (say 10-20 years) it does not matter if the carbon dioxide is coming from fossil fuels or biomass from forest – the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases, in which case, and the short time perspective is important if we are to mitigate the greenhouse effect. The short-term emissions may even be greater biofuel from forestry, because there will be emissions from the clear-cut as well, besides the fuel itself. The carbon cycle is complicated and we do not know everything. We should be wary of releasing carbon dioxide, because it is uncertain how much is absorbed and when.

Long-lived wood products (such as houses) stores carbon and replace more energy-intensive materials. Although it is better to build houses of wood than concrete, so lasting, most wood products do not last as long as a house. Nor is obviously better to replace more energy-intensive materials with wood: we must first consider whether we should make the product at all. In any case, much of the forest cut down short-lived paper products, packaging, advertising and prints / copies, many of which are thrown on the same day. The coal from these ports quickly in the atmosphere.

It is good to replace fossil fuels with biofuels. Yes, we need to stop using fossil fuels. But it is not obviously good to readily replace fossil fuels with biofuels. It depends on what we use energy for: to chop down the forest, for example, be able to continue with mass motoring does not hold in the long run. Fossil fuels come from plants stored over millions of years and we are burning up at breakneck speed; we obviously can not get out as much energy by harvesting the forest that grows in our lifetime. Biofuels can only make a limited contribution to managing the transition from fossil fuels globally, and since they also carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are something we should conserve, not something that actually benefits the climate. We need to reduce our energy use and find other energy sources.

The forest industry often use forestry alleged climate benefits as a reason to justify increased logging and to override the modern forestry threat to biodiversity. As we saw in the first part of the article forestry climate arguments major shortcomings. But in addition it is wrong to put climate change on biodiversity loss: both are in themselves major threat to humans and the ecosystems we depend on. These two threats are also linked – the species-poor monocultures that promote forestry are more vulnerable to future climate change, and climate change is itself a threat to biodiversity.

Positive news

Forests in Europe have grown by more than 30% since 1950, rising by 1.5 million football pitches every year – an area that is four times larger than London.

“90% of deforestation is due to the application of unsustainable agricultural practices.”
Underlying causes of deforestation, the World Rainforest Movement; UN FAO

55% of the world’s deforestation is used to produce energy and 25% is used for construction. Other applications are also available, but the paper takes only 11% directly and can also use up to 7% of the construction waste.

In some countries, particularly in the tropics, disputes over land rights and the conversion of natural forests to industrial plantations, something that worries the paper industry, NGOs and consumers.

“The single biggest direct cause of tropical deforestation is the conversion of forests to cropland and pastures, mainly in the supply end.”, April 2013

Two Sides initiative supports solutions to these problems, and recognizing the need to promote products which can be clearly traced to sustainable sources.

In northern Europe, where almost all old-growth forests are protected, paper comes from managed, semi-natural forests where the cycle of planting, growth and harvesting is carefully controlled. History stumbling blocks in northern Europe and Canada has now largely been resolved through cooperation between regulators, environmental groups and the forest industry in order to protect virgin forests.

“82.7% of the mass we use originate in Europe.”

CEPI Sustainability Report, 2011, Page 26

Forests constitute a natural habitat for wildlife. There is always room for improvement and European Environment Agency has declared that ‘Forestry chips in Europe develop in a way that can be considered good for biodiversity’.  All pulp imported to Europe meets the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits the import of wood products from illegally harvested timber.