Friday, June 6, 2008

Tree planting as part of carbon markets

(This is part 3 of an updated version of an article I published in the Palerang and District Bulletin in May 2008.) Part 1; Part 2

With urgency to move to a low carbon economy a companion option to emissions reductions is carbon sequestration.

In Australia this process – strategically removing carbon already in the atmosphere through trees and forests, has received relatively scant attention, but it has major potential for diverse environmental benefits.

According to the 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world has lost about a fifth of its forests since the beginning of the 20th Century and continues to lose an estimated seven million hectares per year. Ironically, as reported in a recent issue of Time magazine, the upsurge of soybean and other crop plantings for biofuels is accelerating the deforestation of the Amazon and elsewhere to make way for cropland and in this way is doing more harm than good for the atmospheric balance.

Trees are not only an important CO2 sink but also provide natural habitats for many plant and animal species, stabilise the soil, help improve inland rainfall patterns. Australians like planting trees, even while others are still removing them. It is therefore unsurprising that tree plantings play a major role in the voluntary carbon offset market that currently operates in Australia.

Read on: Guilt-Free Flying With Carbon Offsets – Buyer Be Aware

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