Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Scientific Report Suggests Emissions from Logging Worse Than Previously Thought

The Australian National University (ANU) has just released a report showing that natural Eucalypt forests in Tasmania store three times more carbon than estimated by the Australian government and by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Previous estimates of carbon storage were based on measurements in plantation forests, rather than in natural forests. Because of this under-estimate, the emissions resulting when natural forests are replaced by plantations would also be greatly under-estimated (see last post).

The report also introduces an interesting classification of carbon into different colours:
Green carbon = carbon stored in natural, resilient forests
Brown carbon = carbon stored in plantations and industrial forests
Grey carbon = carbon in fossil fuels
Blue carbon = carbon stored in oceans

Report author Brendan Mackay suggests that the under-estimate of carbon in natural forests is probably a global problem. Does anyone have any insight on how forest carbon is estimated in Canada and elsewhere and whether carbon stocks in natural forests everywhere are likely to be under-estimated?

ANU's Green Carbon report
Report synopsis by The Wilderness Society, Australia

Reuters article

Photo credit: The Wilderness Society

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