Trees, Forests, and Carbon Capture
February 24, 2009 2:25pm
Nothing like the real, old thing
It's an attention-getting argument to be sure. Bold, new, shiny. Easy, too: don't worry so much, it suggests. The forests will come back, so the mounting losses aren't such a big deal. But is it valid? Should it influence forest and climate policy? Or efforts to protect biodiversity and habitat for non-human species? I was skeptical, as I tend to be of new, shiny theories--sometimes a good thing, sometimes definitely not.Then, another study appears, this time in Nature. And this one says: save the old-growth forests! Intact rainforests sequester nearly 20 percent of the world's carbon emissions...that's nearly 5 billion tons of it a year. "New" forests just can't do this. In my carbon calculus, old news trumps new theory. Not so shiny, but not so subtle, either. Forests need to be a priority in any climate solution. Now, and even as farmland gives way to trees and shrubs.