New findings accentuate value of old growth forest in addressing climate change
A UK study published in December 2022 suggests carbon volume in larger trees is likely to be much higher than previously estimated.
This potentially has huge implications for the value of forests, old growth in particular, for mitigating climate change – and underlines a correspondingly much greater cost of their destruction.
The indepth study is based on 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), a remote sensing technique that accurately captures the volume and mass of carbon from pulse emissions. This methodology supplants more sketchy estimates currently based on allometric models from calculation of tree diameter, which assume size and mass grow at a steady rate; these are deemed more suitable for trees less than 50 cm diameter.
Australia declassifies wood from natural forests as renewable energy
On 15th December Australia became the first G20 nation to renounce natural forests as a legitimate feedstock for bioenergy. They will no longer qualify for subsidies through Large-Scale Generation Certificates.
It underlines the need for strict protection of remaining primary/old growth forest, coinciding with the latest reporttodemonstrate a much higher carbon carrying capacity of larger trees than previously calculated.
Tongass triumph! Protection for the world’s largest old growth temperate forest
In a highly significant victory for old growth forest, on 25th January the Biden administration reinstated roadless legislation to the Tongass Forest of South Eastern Alaska.
Just over 3.7 million hectares, the world’s largest intact temperate forest, was accorded strict protection along with its massive carbon stocks and rich array of wildlife.
This great achievement by a coalition of First Nation peoples, recreational and fishing interests, working with dedicated conservationists [to whom Wild Europe is honoured to have added its support] sends a clear and timely signal to decision takers in Europe: protection of forest from the EU Biodiversity & Forest Strategies must be equally strict and on the largest scale possible – translating into non extraction and non intervention.
COP 26 Climate Change Summit – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Billed as a last chance saloon to avert profoundly damaging climate change before the 2030 target date, COP 26 in Glasgow from 1-13 November 2021 was characterised by a spate of pronouncements and initiatives.
What did it really achieve for climate and biodiversity, and how can this be built on strategically?
A few bullet points set the scene towards COP27 in Cairo.
The emphasis now is on ensuring achievement – with 2030 as the imminent target date, aligned to Paris Agreement timelines. Strategies from the EU for biodiversity and forests could provide useful models for the route ahead.
Meanwhile Wild Europe made useful progress with its allies, with considerable support gained for a Moratorium on primary forest logging, and for the importance of ‘natural ecosystems’ with ‘high integrity’ – the core of our agenda.
Perfect storm for a forest bioenergy crisis – and how to address it
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that forest bioenergy worsens climate change, with higher emissions than any other fuel including gas or coal, elements within the EC currently considering reform of RED II continue to give it their strong support.
There are however crucial opportunities, currently underexploited, for addressing this issue.