A study has found a simple and cheap way to use forests to slow global climate change

A study has found a simple and cheap way to use forests to slow global climate change

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credit: Forest ecology and management (2023). doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2023.121038

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credit: Forest ecology and management (2023). doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2023.121038

Spending $1.50 per hectare to prune climbing vines from the world’s selectively felled forests could remove 800 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over 30 years, according to new research.

Professor Jack (Francis) Butz, from the University of the Sunshine Coast, was so pleased by the discovery that he and nine international co-authors called on all countries with tropical forests – including Australia – to include this simple practice in their national carbon policies. With it.

“If we are to scale up natural climate solutions at the pace needed to avoid global climate catastrophe, we need effective, low-cost, non-remorseful practices that can be implemented immediately,” said the recently joined professor of forest ecology and management. UniSC to continue his work.

“This research explains why we should cut down vines (woody climbing vines) and suggests how government and private landowners can do this, to achieve environmental and economic benefits through the timber industry.

“Liana removal is more likely to be widely adopted if it is integrated into national carbon policy frameworks.”

Professor Butz was lead author of a published paper on the research in Forest ecology and management With his former university in Florida, as well as The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Eastwood Forests in the US, and Science for Sustainability in Central America.

“Lianas are great in some ways, but they compete with trees and other plants for sunlight,” he said.

“Liana invasions affect a quarter of the world’s 1 billion hectares of selectively logged forest, especially in the tropics, and this is increasing with human interventions and climate change.

“Our research found that cutting vines from a small number of trees destined for harvest – just five trees per hectare – would increase carbon sequestration and contribute to timber production to improve local livelihoods.

“Forest managers who have access to voluntary carbon markets can also diversify their income.

“With the treatment cost estimated at less than US$1 per ton of CO22It is an attractive opportunity for countries to achieve climate action goals and – in light of current carbon market prices of between $10 and $20 per tonne of CO22– Enhancing the economic potential of selectively harvested forests.”

The same treatment could benefit biodiversity in forests not designated for logging, he said.

more information:
Francis E. Butz et al., cutting liana in selectively clear-cut forests increases carbon sequestration and timber productivity, Forest ecology and management (2023). doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2023.121038

Magazine information:
Forest ecology and management

Provided by the University of the Sunshine Coast

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