Archive for Avoided deforestation

Oh no we don’t!

The pantomime season is approaching fast, and seemingly kicked off with this piece on the BBC’s Countryfile programme last Sunday, in which Tom Heap explored the intriguing question of “why burning trees is better for the environment than many think”.

Subsequent media coverage has quoted the support of a number of conservation bodies, including ourselves, for the Forestry Commission’s desire to harvest two million tonnes of woodfuel a year from the UK’s “undermanaged” woods. Our supporters would rightly question why a woodland conservation charity like the Woodland Trust would wish to see trees felled and burned to produce heat. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

REDDy for a change?

There was a fascinating meeting at the International Institute for Environment and Development last night. Professor Virgílio Viana, visiting fellow and director general of the Amazon Sustainability Foundation talked about the project he oversees in the Amazonas, the largest Brazilian Amazon state. A short summary of what he covered is in this video:

Viana’s presentation outlined the successes of the project, which has seen a switch in governmental policy from handing out free chainsaws towards a cultural value of seeing standing trees as being worth more than felled ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Pup friction

puppiesForget, for a moment at least, whether there is a tiger in your tank. Instead think about whether there’s an ancient tree in your puppy. Well, sort of.

piece in the New York Times yesterday drew attention to the increasing love affair that Americans have for soft toilet tissue and the threat that poses for old growth forests.

Toilet paper can be made from recycled material with ease — it uses less water to convert paper into fibre than it does to mash up wood pulp. But to get the soft, fluffy whiteness that many of us currently prefer requires the use of virgin wood pulp — the fibres are, well, softer, stronger and longer.

A spokesperson from Kimberley Clark — seemingly one of the worst culprits — said that “only” 14 percent of the wood pulp used by the company comes from the Canadian boreal forest.

This isn’t a new issue. Both Greenpeace and the WWF have been campaigning for years against the destruction of forests for the production of toilet paper. What’s changed is the current global economic slump. People have a raised awareness for the benefits of recycling and re-use: now is the time to switch to 100% recycled toilet paper. It might not be quite so luxurious an experience, but it’s a very easy way to prevent destruction of carbon storing old growth forests.

Africa sinks up

Tree measurements show that African rainforests are locking up carbon faster than ever

Tree measurements show that African rainforests are locking up carbon faster than ever

While much of the alarm over global deforestation centres on the Amazon rainforest, which continues at a shocking rate, African rainforests receive relatively little attention. Yet a study published today in Nature demonstrates the increasing size of the carbon sink these forests contain: similar to Amazonian forests in per unit area terms.

A large international team of scientists, headed up by Simon Lewis at the University of Leeds, found that across 79 plots in ten African countries, the above-ground carbon storage increased by 0.63 Mg C per hectare per year, between 1968 and 2007. Scaling up to include unmeasured material — roots, small trees, rotting trees and so on — brings the continental increase in carbon storage to 0.34 Pg C (that’s 340 million tonnes of carbon) per year. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock, paper, scissors

One of the least energy efficient buildings in Britain

One of the least energy efficient buildings in Britain

It’s been an interesting week. The All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group met at the House of Commons to discuss Reducing Emissons from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). His Excellency Laleshwar Singh, High Commissioner for Guyana in the UK, was there to reiterate his country’s offer to protect their pristine rainforest from illegal logging and clearance in exchange for millions of pounds of UK and international assistance. The money, he said, would go towards increased security, development of research opportunities, ecotourism and “sustainable forestry”. Improving education, health and employment prospects for local people would also figure in the plan.

It sounded great (apart from that sustainable forestry bit, thrown in with an alarmingly casual wave of the arm), but then came the catch. Read the rest of this entry »