Industrial Logging In The U.S. Adding To Global Deforestation

Deforestation Compounding Global Warming

By Danna Smith, Executive Director, Dogwood Alliance

For the last ten years or more our national climate change conversation has been dominated by the need to get off fossil fuels. And rightfully so – we do need to rapidly transition away from burning coal, gas and oil for energy if we are to solve the climate crisis. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that scaling up the protection of forests is also vital.

Until recently, U.S. forests seemed to be largely absent from the climate change conversation. That’s changing as evidenced by discussions about forests as a climate solution at the recent Global Climate Action Summit. But, the long-overdue attention to U.S. forests as a climate solution is still not getting at the heart of the matter. Benign terms like “working forests” and “managed forests” are frequently used when conversing about forests and climate change. It seems like no one wants to call it what it actually is– industrial logging. Though the evidence is mounting, many still seem unwilling to acknowledge industrial logging in the U.S. as a significant climate problem.

The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer AND producer of wood products. Recent global forest cover loss maps produced using satellite imagery data found that the rate of forest disturbance from logging in the Southeastern U.S. alone was four times that of South American rainforests. That’s quite a big elephant in the room when it comes to the national conversation about climate change.

deforestation and global warming

This year the recorded amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached an all-time human-era high of 411 parts per million (ppm) – well beyond the 350 ppm that climate scientists have deemed safe for humans. Even if we stopped emitting carbon from burning fossil fuels tomorrow, we’d still have too much heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and temperatures would continue to rise. That’s why scientists are now pointing to the critical need to also remove carbon from the atmosphere in order to keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius—the point of potentially catastrophic consequences.

The most highly evolved, efficient and proven technology available for removing carbon from the atmosphere is not technology at all– it’s forests. As trees and other plant life in forests grow, they take in carbon dioxide, storing it in roots, trunks, leaves and the soil. Letting trees grow is as vital to solving climate change as getting off of fossil fuels. Intact biodiverse forests also optimize natural flood control, stabilize fresh water supplies, and cool the air at a time when extreme flooding, droughts, and heat waves are only getting worse

The extensive logging of U.S. forests releases vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere that would otherwise be stored in forests. Shockingly, these carbon emissions are not being reported by government. However, a recent peer-reviewed scientific report published in 2016 documents that carbon emissions from logging are significant and that logging is by far the biggest driver of carbon loss in U.S. forests— five times that of conversion, fire and other sources combined.

reforestation and carbon capture

A second study published this year by Oregon State University scientists found that the forest industry was the state’s number one carbon emitter – surpassing emissions from the fossil fuel sector. Equally as important, logging is degrading the amount of carbon stored in U.S. forests by at least 35%. Since what isn’t stored on the land is in the atmosphere, this is a huge climate problem.

Another study, published in Nature in December of 2017, warned that to solve the climate crisis we must acknowledge the climate impacts associated with logging of “managed” forests. Scientists compared current amounts of carbon stored in forests around the world with how much more carbon forests could store if forests were protected from deforestation and logging. The results show the extent to which intensively logged areas like the Southeast U.S., if protected, would move from their current status of “low carbon storage” to be among the highest forest carbon stores on Earth – meaning large amounts of carbon currently in the atmosphere could be removed and stored back in the forest where it belongs. Instead, Southeast forests are now being clearcut to make wood pellets to fuel power plants in Europe, even though doing so releases more carbon into the atmosphere per unit of electricity generated than coal.

Beyond its harm to forests and the climate, logging also goes hand in hand with pollution, poverty and inequity. Rural communities in the Southeast bearing the brunt of the impacts of logging have some of the highest poverty rates in the nation and pollution from certain wood processing plants too often disproportionately impacts poor communities and people of color. There is simply no evidence that industrial logging has helped create sustainable, healthy, rural economies. It’s time to rethink the forest extraction economy in the U.S.

There is some good news, however. An unprecedented alliance of faith, justice and environmental organizations along with scientists and elected officials has come together behind a US Forests & Climate platform known as Stand4Forests that calls for swift action to protect U.S. forests from industrial logging. With over 200 signatories to date, and the launch of a nationally-coordinated effort to draw attention to it, it’s not likely that industrial logging will continue to be the elephant in the U.S. climate room for much longer.

Read The Full Story About Deforestation In The U.S.

deforestation and climate change

 

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. It supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Climate Changing Life Across East Africa

African NGOs Propose Strategies To Fight Climate Change, Defend Ecosystems

Forests in East Africa are still vanishing due to agriculture and the need for fuel wood and charcoal. This destruction threatens ecosystems that support millions of people and endangered species.

To help stop this growing crisis, dozens of NGOs and thousands of stakeholders across five nations have united to develop plans that can make this entire region more sustainable and resilient.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

These plans include:

  • forest conservation,
  • reforestation,
  • agroforestry,
  • sustainable agriculture/aquaculture,
  • solar energy,
  • wildlife conservation,
  • ecotourism and more.

The projects include Burundi, Kenya, RwandaTanzania and Uganda. They represent one of the largest, proven carbon-capture opportunities available today.

lion conservation Africa

“These projects are all well planned by the stakeholders who will depend on their success,” said Gary Chandler, founder and executive director of Sacred Seedlings. “They are large enough and comprehensive enough to make a significant impact across East Africa and around the world.”

Chandler hopes that these plans will serve as models and motivation for similar projects around the world. As he explains deforestation generates about 20 percent of greenhouse gasses, which contribute to global warming and climate change.

Deforestation cripples our planet’s ability to filter carbon dioxide from our air. Deforestation also threatens endangered species and endangered cultures around the world.

NGOs behind the visionary plans include Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania, Megabridge Foundation, Youth Link, Earth Keepers Centre, and many others. The plans to fight climate change will conserve forests, while restoring ecosystems and watersheds with more than 100 million new trees just in Tanzania. The projects are ready to proceed once funded.

Africa wildlife conservation

The NGOs asked Sacred Seedlings to help them generate grants, sponsors, donations and volunteers. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or to suggest new project possibilities anywhere in the world, please contact Gary Chandler, founder and executive director, 602-999-7204 (USA) or gary@crossbow1.com or @Gary_Chandler

reforestation and climate change solution

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Corporations Sign New York Declaration On Forests 

Pledge To Zero Deforestation

Asia Pulp and Paper, Cargill and Unilever are among the 34 companies to sign the New York Declaration on Forests this week at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, which sets a global timeline to halve deforestation of natural forests by 2020, and end it altogether by 2030. (palm oil buyers below)

Some of the signatories have already taken firm action to halt deforestation. In February 2013, APP announced its forest conservation policy and zero deforestation commitment. Although it has not been an easy road over the past 18 months, APP seems to be successfully working to implement the policy. Earlier this year, the company made a further commitment to support the protection and restoration of 2.5 million acres of tropical rainforest landscapes in Indonesia.

palm oil plantation deforestation

Walmart, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s and Nestlé are some other notable brands to sign the declaration, which also calls for concrete action to restore hundreds of millions of acres of degraded land.

The world loses more than 32 million acres of forests each year, roughly an area the size of Alabama. This is egregious for several environmental, economic and social reasons.

deforestation and climate change

When we destroy forests, we eliminate one of our most potent natural carbon sequestration technologies. Millions could be spent developing extravagant artificial technologies to sequester carbon, but they wouldn’t come close to the efficiency or elegance of a simple tree. Any school child can tell you why: Trees “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen. But when forests are cleared, burned or degraded, we simultaneously release stored carbon into the atmosphere and eliminate a powerful tool for capturing it. Currently, around 11 percent of global greenhouse gases are emitted through deforestation and other land use. Forests also provide ecosystem services valued at $33 trillion, or twice the U.S.’s annual GDP. These include facilitating food, water and air production, minimizing storm damage and producing a wide range of natural medicines.

In recognition of this fact, the New York declaration calls for the restoration of forests and croplands equal to an area larger than India. This could save between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tons of carbon emissions annually by 2030 — the equivalent of taking all the world’s cars off the road for one year. Reducing emissions from deforestation and increasing forest restoration will be critical to limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the U.N. says.

Given that India is not small, achieving this will be as difficult as it is audacious. A good place to start is targeting companies that convert forests for the production of commodities, including soy, palm oil, beef and paper, which accounts for around half of global deforestation. Infrastructure, urban expansion, energy, mining and fuel wood collection also contribute in varying degrees.

Palm oil, a major ingredient in many processed foods, is a particularly vexing source of deforestation; old-growth forests in Indonesia and Malaysia have been ravaged by the rise of palm oil plantations. This is why it is a big deal that Cargill, Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources — the world’s three largest palm oil companies — signed the New York declaration. In 2011, Cargill pledged to have all of the palm oil it sells in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil by 2015, and all palm oil sold in China, India and elsewhere to be RSPO-certified by 2020.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

It is good to see deforestation finally starting to give pause to industries dependent on forest clearing and resource extraction. Although corporate pressures tend to favor short-term profit over long-term viability, they are digging their own proverbial grave in allowing forests to die. Once old growth forests are gone, they are gone because it can take anywhere from a century to several millennia for a forest to grow back, and even then, the biodiversity never may return. And when the forests disappear, so will the businesses dependent on them.

Cleaning up corporate supply chains is easier said than done; most of the world’s forests are in developing countries in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia where corrupt government, war and poverty makes it difficult to implement public policies against deforestation. Illegal deforestation in the form of unsanctioned logging, cattle ranching and subsistence land clearing is a pervasive problem in these regions. More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for food, water, fuel and medicine, as well as for maintaining traditional cultures and livelihoods. In many developing regions, people rely on subsistence farming and burning fuel wood for energy, which leads to widespread forest destruction.

The New York declaration says it will address this by supporting alternatives to deforestation driven by basic needs in ways that alleviate poverty and promote sustainable and equitable development. This will be achieved by strengthening forest governance, transparency and the rule of law, while also empowering communities and recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, especially those relating to their lands and resources. Equality and ecology are inexorably linked; we can’t hope to counter climate change unless we also strive to raise all of humanity out of indigence.

Forests embody one of the largest, most cost-effective climate solutions available. Taking action to conserve, sustainably manage and restore forests can not only help minimize the impacts of global warming, but also contribute to economic growth and poverty alleviation. By eliminating clear-cutting and balancing the cutting that does occur with planting enough young trees to replace the older ones, we just might be able to turn the tide against global deforestation and, through it, global warming.

Source: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/09/26/app-cargill-un-deforestation-pledge?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+greenbuzz+(GreenBiz)

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Reforestation The Best Defense Against Climate Change

Trees Absorb Carbon From Atmosphere

Deforestation causes 12-18 percent of the world’s carbon emission, almost equal to all the CO2 emissions from the global transport sector. Our forests are home to 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity. However, we are losing our forests at an incredibly high rate. Each year more than 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests are lost, an area roughly the size of England.

deforestation and global warming

Recognizing the importance of our forests and finding ways to decrease deforestation has been at the forefront of climate change negotiations for the last few years. Among negotiators, government leaders and observers, it is clearly recognized that combating climate change without slowing deforestation is a lost cause.

The link between forests and climate change adaptation and mitigation was again underlined on the sidelines of the United Nations climate talks in Mexico while celebrating Forest Day 4.

Forest Day began in 2007 as a result of a casual conversation between two scientists in Oxford, England. In Cancun this year, in its fourth celebration, over 1,500 leaders and experts attended the event to discuss the most pressing issues affecting our forests and to explore ways to accelerate the integration of forests into climate protection and adaptation schemes from local to global levels.

At the gathering, climate and forestry experts stressed that slowing the rate deforestation is the cheapest and one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. Participants also urged climate change negotiators to find a common ground on a REDD+ agreement.

REDD+ is a global mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the conservation and sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Observers at the UN climate conference in Cancun highlighted that one of the best ways to show progress in climate change negotiations is through an agreement on REDD+.

palm oil plantation deforestation

Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, voiced DESA’s commitment to REDD+ and stated: “The UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which I head, stands ready to help developing countries improve their capacity to use REDD+ financing, implement REDD+ actions and to mainstream climate change into national development strategies.”

According to the participants some of the most immediate challenges in implementing REDD+ at the sub-national level are equitable distribution of net REDD+ revenues to forest-dependent communities, property rights, employment for rural communities, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emission reduction. The urgency to take immediate action was the overarching message of many of the speakers at Forest Day 4.

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, said: “Here and now, it’s time for all of us to push and push hard for full incorporation of REDD+ into a long-term international climate change agreement.”

deforestation and climate change

Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), also emphasized that continuing with the negotiation process without seriously considering forests can be detrimental. “Whether the objective is global climate protection, local adaptation, biodiversity conservation, or rural development, there is an increasing sense that the risks of no action on forests are far greater than the risks of moving ahead. It’s time to act,” she said.

Overall, Forest Day 4 highlighted the urgency of ensuring the survival of the world’s forests, the biodiversity they embrace, and the hundreds of millions of people who depend on them. The event served as a bridge between the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity and the 2011 International Year of Forests.

Mr. Sha Zukang concluded his statement by inviting all to actively participate in the 2011 International Year of Forest. He added: “The Year will raise public awareness about the intrinsic value of forests, and we hope it will prompt governments to redouble their conservation and management efforts.”

Source: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/forest/reforestation-the-easiest.html

reforestation and climate change solution

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com