# Deforestation and Climate Change

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The loss of forests and their capacity as carbon sinks, as well as their effects (especially rainforest) on weather patterns, poses serious problems for us.  Where do you think effort would be best concentrated?

Paying developing nations not to chop, giving them carbon capture credits, seems like one practical approach.

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The countries that hold globally-critical resources need to be 'levelled up' with support that means they don't rely on those critical resources. That means we rich countries will have to start taking responsibility for what the have-nots don't have. When they are living largely hand-to-mouth, what can we expect them to do alone?

Edited by StringJunky
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The rain forest is - and has been for a long time - in a perilous position: https://eartheclipse.com/environment/serious-threats-rainforest.html

48 minutes ago, TheVat said:

Where do you think effort would be best concentrated?

Educating the 'developed' countries that exploitation of resources in 'developing' countries doesn't remove the effects of damage from themselves, just because they can't immediately see the consequences. How do you persuade American, Russian and Middle Eastern investors to stop the growth of the mining industry in Latin America? Will the US consumer stop buying the coffee ? China may be 'greening up its supply chain', but won't stop importing beef.  (That last link is also from the Guardian. Good little paper, that one.)

Rich countries don't have to pay poor countries to stop cutting down trees: they just need to stop paying poor countries for cutting down trees.

Then, there is the construction and  bio-fuel problem....  This ought to be sustainable, if the industry were satisfied with waste from sawmills.... except that the lumber industry is always hungry for more mature hardwood, and still doesn't produce the quantity of sawdust required. Are we going to stop making paper for all those hygiene and convenience products and advertising garbage nobody wants?   The "forest industry" with government support and subsidies is really terrifying!

And of course, they're burning. All the forests, all over the globe. Nobody can stop the fires now.

So, i guess, efforts could best be concentrated on consuming less - a lot less! - and planting more.

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1 hour ago, TheVat said:

Where do you think effort would be best concentrated?

1) Accelerate the implementation of "The Great Green Wall"

This has already been shown to be successful.

2) Look for other areas of the planet where similar schemes might be implemented eg The Gobi, Australia.

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It's a lot of hard work, but people are doing it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApSP5apZEfk

Then, there is the other kind - small green walls

Plenty of good ideas - but we still need to plant more, and consume less.

The big challenge for most of these projects is water supply.

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2 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Educating the 'developed' countries that exploitation of resources in 'developing' countries doesn't remove the effects of damage from themselves, just because they can't immediately see the consequences. How do you persuade American, Russian and Middle Eastern investors to stop the growth of the mining industry in Latin America? Will the US consumer stop buying the coffee ? China may be 'greening up its supply chain', but won't stop importing beef.  (That last link is also from the Guardian. Good little paper, that one.)

Rich countries don't have to pay poor countries to stop cutting down trees: they just need to stop paying poor countries for cutting down trees.

Yes,  the supply chains of stuff like palm oil are a big piece of the puzzle.   With coffee,  we can promote shade tree varieties (coffea arabica) but it is harder to get consumers to even know how to stop buying the thousands of products that contain palm oil.   As @String Junky noted,  it is hard to educate on long-term consequences when people are living hand-to-mouth.  Those people will likely subscribe to the famous adage,  "money talks,  bulls*** walks. "  So maybe it would take fallow payments,  where money rewards leaving a forest alone,  because otherwise there will always be economic drivers that we cannot stop just by not buying.   Even if rich nations said no more robusta beans,  palm oil,  tinned beef, copper, latex,  etc there would still be hungry farmers nibbling away at the edges of the forests.   They would need incentives to just walk in there and gather nuts instead.

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1 hour ago, TheVat said:

They would need incentives to just walk in there and gather nuts instead.

I'm not so sure. What those farming families eat, plus enough extra to take to market once a week, would comfortably grow on a small fraction of the lands needed for export. It's their governments, landowners and bankers that woo the foreign investment and trade - especially if part of the payment is in weapons to point at the peons, in case they get any ideas about the ownership of land and water

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Rampant poverty is another factor. After years of structural adjustment imposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, as a region, Latin America has the most inequitable income distribution in the world. Mirroring this is a pattern of tremendously unequal access to water. More than 130 million people have no safe drinking water in their homes, and only an estimated one out of every six persons enjoys adequate sanitation service.5 The situation worsens as policies favoring industrial agriculture drive millions of subsistence farmers into the cities’ overpopulated slums every year.

The question is, who that's willing to can offer sufficient money reward to offset the enormous head start and ongoing advantage of capital?

It might work -- but I'm skeptical.

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Reducing consumerism would obviously solve many aspects of the problem, but I'll refrain from mentioning the 4-syllable word that starts with 'P'.

I can think of another approach that would provide a small amount of breathing space and which could be introduced by governments if necessary.

Legislate (obviously with a decades-long grace period) that timber for building needs to be obtained from planted forest trees. As far as I know, it is not yet legislated as such here in Australia, but you can see that plantations account for 2% of Australia’s total forest area -- https://www.awe.gov.au/abares/forestsaustralia/profiles/industrial-plantations -- “ ... Australia's industrial plantations covered a total of 2.02 million hectares in 2011 (or 2% of Australia's total forest area), including 1.03 million hectares of softwood species (mostly exotic pines), 0.98 million hectares of hardwood species (mostly eucalypts) and 0.01 million hectares of unknown or mixed species ...  Their primary purpose is commercial wood production, and they produce most of the volume of logs harvested annually in Australia. Industrial plantations also provide a range of environmental services, such as salinity and erosion control, and support regional employment. Plantations provide habitat for some native flora and fauna species that generally do not inhabit cleared agricultural land, although the population densities of forest-dwelling species are usually lower in plantations than in native forests. “

Another aspect that we had going in Victoria and which is not acknowledged in statistics, was to re-plant roadside vegetation and other large areas that had been denuded for almost a century. From 1975 to 1980, I was President of a group called the Warrnambool Nature Reserves Society, whose aim was to do just that in southwestern Victoria. Up till 1930, residents were permitted to harvest roadside and crown reserve timber for wood fires. In the days before electricity, such timber was the only source of heat for open fires and for cooking.

Just a couple of thoughts.

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1 hour ago, Doogles31731 said:

4-syllable word that starts with 'P

There are too many of us, we want too much and we are, as a species, purblind and barking mad.

The big flood worked once....

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From today's COP26, an attempt at least (not getting excited,  as the pledge has been made before...)

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — More than 100 countries pledged Tuesday to end deforestation in the coming decade — a promise that experts say would be critical to limiting climate change but one that has been made and broken before.

Britain hailed the commitment as the first big achievement of the U.N. climate conference known as COP26 taking place this month in the Scottish city of Glasgow. But campaigners say they need to see the details to understand its full impact.

The U.K. government said it has received commitments from leaders representing more than 85% of the world’s forests to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. Among them are several countries with massive forests, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Congo, Indonesia, Russia and the United States.

More than $19 billion in public and private funds have been pledged toward the plan. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “with today’s unprecedented pledges, we will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror, and instead become its custodian.” ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites That's a start of course, and it's a sensible move quite independent of climate change, in my opinion. But it's easier said than done. How do we get the increased farm products and building materials for extra farm products for the increasing P*********, unless we clear more land. Was it associated with pledges to do more large scale tree-planting over the next 30 years? ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 3 hours ago, Doogles31731 said: How do we get the increased farm products I'm glad you asked! Urban farming of several kinds is part of the answer. Cultured meat is another. 3 hours ago, Doogles31731 said: and building materials for extra farm products Industrial farming doesn't require much building: it's carried out by massive machines on vast acreages, with tons of chemicals. The immense barns and chicken-factories already exist, as do the slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants, grist mills and transport depots. However, should new structures be needed, I recommend recycled plastic instead of new trees? 3 hours ago, Doogles31731 said: Was it associated with pledges to do more large scale tree-planting over the next 30 years? It always is. We always do some, maybe lots. Nowhere near as many as get burned, an it will take 30-100 years for the new ones we plants to replace those. That's 25-100 years more than we have to spare. Still, planting anything green, especially on top of buildings or on the side of big ugly cement walls can only be good. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 4 hours ago, Doogles31731 said: That's a start of course, and it's a sensible move quite independent of climate change, in my opinion. But it's easier said than done. How do we get the increased farm products and building materials for extra farm products for the increasing P*********, unless we clear more land. Was it associated with pledges to do more large scale tree-planting over the next 30 years? LoL your asterisks, and please feel at ease in this thread referencing population, which seems pretty relevant to this topic. As Peterkin noted, any planting is good, and young growing trees can fix plenty of carbon. Stopping the clearance done for beef ranching will take both policy changes, iron enforcement, and cultural changes on how some view "real meat." While I view some of the recent plant-based meats as pretty tasty, I know I am in a minority in my country, and even considered a traitor in some circles. Which is a silly way for the beefeaters to be in the viselike grip of an ideology, IMO. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Pederkin, thank you for the comments. I was interested in your links to ‘urban planning’, but the link went to the proceedings of a court case. I perused the article by Damian Carrington on synthetic meat and found that I had a few questions to ask. I noted a couple of comments -- “The cells for Eat Just’s product are grown in a 1,200-litre bioreactor and then combined with plant-based ingredients.”, “The small scale of current cultured meat production requires a relatively high use of energy and therefore carbon emissions. But once scaled up its manufacturers say it will produce much lower emissions and use far less water and land than conventional meat.” Has anybody apart from the manufacturers evaluated the production of the plant-based products to see if they can be produced without farmland? Has anyone apart from the manufacturers evaluated the large-scale production costs to see how they compare with open-range farm animal meat like mutton and beef? Has anyone apart from the manufacturers evaluated the expectation that the production will NOT require a relatively high use of energy and therefore carbon emissions in the future? You’ve commented on the phrase ‘and building materials for extra farm products”. My sentence was worded badly. I asked How do we get the increased farm products and building materials for extra farm products for the increasing population?” I was referring for timber for new homes and buildings, not buildings for industrial farming. This site gives an idea of the age at which hardwood trees can be harvested for timber in Victoria -- https://www.vicforests.com.au/static/uploads/files/fs-plantation-web-wfkpsjqlbofi.pdf, and I see other sites suggesting that many softwoods are harvested at 27-40 years. Planting trees for building materials appears to me to be a realistic proposition that could go hand in hand with the banning of destruction of natural forest. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites • 1 month later... There is not one solution for any action on natural resources. Local ecosystems monitoring should be done from earth as well as with the growing help from the satellites surveillance. 1. Planting of trees should be locally analyzed. More trees in some areas may impact restraining greenhouse. 2. The Ocean ecosystem should be carefully observed and preserved, as the phytoplankton reduces greenhouse gases by using carbon dioxide. 3. Flooding vs deserting areas. 4. High temperature areas, fire zones. 5. Areas, where the neutral impact is noticeable should be considered. Research is undergoing in local forest areas with new findings and should be published and put to test with modeling capabilities. Running to planting more trees wherever it is possible might not be the best way. Educating poor countries is always worth it, but seems not time effective for the forests part. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites On 11/1/2021 at 5:21 PM, TheVat said: The loss of forests and their capacity as carbon sinks, as well as their effects (especially rainforest) on weather patterns, poses serious problems for us. Where do you think effort would be best concentrated? Paying developing nations not to chop, giving them carbon capture credits, seems like one practical approach. I'm very keen that forests should be preserved. But for me, it's to preserve species and habitats. I think the climate value is overstated. A mature forsest has an awful lot of rotting wood, and that produces a heck of a lot of methane. I read somewhere that termites on their own produce far more methane than cows across the world. And the carbon cycle for a mature forest is pretty much in balance. It takes in CO2, and emits it, in roughly equal measures. A brand new forest, growing up from nothing, will store carbon for quite a while, but eventually it reaches balance. The only real carbon sinks are in the ocean, tiny animals producing shells that turn into rocks. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 1 hour ago, mistermack said: I'm very keen that forests should be preserved. But for me, it's to preserve species and habitats. I think the climate value is overstated. A mature forsest has an awful lot of rotting wood, and that produces a heck of a lot of methane. I read somewhere that termites on their own produce far more methane than cows across the world. And the carbon cycle for a mature forest is pretty much in balance. It takes in CO2, and emits it, in roughly equal measures. A brand new forest, growing up from nothing, will store carbon for quite a while, but eventually it reaches balance. The only real carbon sinks are in the ocean, tiny animals producing shells that turn into rocks. Two things about this. 1) Marine carboniferous rocks are not the only ones formed. Peat, lignite, coal ,oil to name but a few. 2) One beneficiial effect of temporary storage of carbon as vegetation material is much the same as the argument against hard paving over evry one's front gardens. That accelerates the run off which exaggerates the peaks and floods. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 2 hours ago, mistermack said: A mature forsest has an awful lot of rotting wood, and that produces a heck of a lot of methane. Yes.... but. Quote 2 hours ago, mistermack said: I read somewhere that termites on their own produce far more methane than cows Where? They do, yes.... but: Quote And then, termite activity is not restricted to old-growth forest; much of it is directly related to human habits and habitats. Quote In arid western Texas, desert termites have delivered a coup de grâce to millions of acres of drought-stricken and overgrazed pasturelands, leaving some areas “completely denuded,” In nature cycle, termites play a vital part in the biological economy of their environment, but cities are not a natural environment. As for comparing them to cattle, that's not exactly relevant to forests, since forests are regularly razed and burned to make way for cattle, which also makes way for more termites - and, of course, cattle are rarely allowed to fill their natural ecological role. 2 hours ago, mistermack said: It takes in CO2, and emits it, in roughly equal measures. I have some reason to question this. Quote However, a great of CO2 is released by forest fires, which are seriously exacerbated by climate change and human activity. 2 hours ago, mistermack said: A brand new forest, growing up from nothing, will store carbon for quite a while, but eventually it reaches balance Up to a point, that's true Quote While young forests tend to absorb more carbon overall because trees can be crowded together when they’re small, a tree’s carbon absorption rate accelerates as it ages. This means that forests comprised of tall, old trees – like the temperate rainforests of North America’s Pacific coast – are some of the planet’s biggest carbon storehouses. the bigger problem, again, comes with human activity: Quote But when forests are logged, their immense stores of carbon are quickly released. A study found the logging of forests in the U.S. state of Oregon emitted 33 million tons of CO2 – almost as much as the world’s dirtiest coal plant.https://news.mongabay.com/2019/05/tall-and-old-or-dense-and-young-which-kind-of-forest-is-better-for-the-climate/ And, of course, the young new forest is incapable of sheltering the biodiversity that a mature forest can. Where have all the insects and birds and animals supposed to live while waiting for their ecological niches to be re-established? On 11/3/2021 at 5:31 AM, Doogles31731 said: Pederkin, thank you for the comments. This was a whole month ago, but there was no notification and I missed it - I'm very sorry. In case you're still intrested, I'll try to answer. On 11/3/2021 at 5:31 AM, Doogles31731 said: I was interested in your links to ‘urban planning’, but the link went to the proceedings of a court case. Urban farming? That link was probably a news item - and they change every day. Here is a good, not rose-coloured, look at the subject as it stands today. Quote What emerges is a nuanced picture. Urban farming likely won't ever provide cities with all that many calories. And the environmental advantages are … debatable. But urban farms can provide a bunch of other neat benefits, from bolstering local communities to (sometimes) encouraging healthier diets. They can also give city-dwellers a better appreciation of how our food system works, which is less nebulous than it sounds. It's a start. On 11/3/2021 at 5:31 AM, Doogles31731 said: Has anybody apart from the manufacturers evaluated the production of the plant-based products to see if they can be produced without farmland? Plant-based meat alternatives and cultured meat are entirely different products. The first is mainly processed from root crops and legumes, with a great many additions, like nuts and grains and usually a whole lot of salt, all done in giant industrial factories, from plants grown on giant industrial farms. You're better off making your own veggie burger - which isn't all that hard. Cultured meat is meat: muscle tissue, cloned from animal cells. On 11/3/2021 at 5:31 AM, Doogles31731 said: Has anyone apart from the manufacturers evaluated the large-scale production costs to see how they compare with open-range farm animal meat like mutton and beef? Yes. The estimates by friends and foes of the concept diverge so widely as to be informationally neutral. Right now, it's significantly more expensive to cultivate animal protein than to raise and slaughter free-range animals (not counting land use and degradation) and vastly more expensive than large-scale industrial farming of the non-organic regular product (not counting environmental factors, which have no immediately palpable$\$ value)  as every new technology is in the development stages.

Here is a very thorough - and I think excellent - study.

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On 11/3/2021 at 5:31 AM, Doogles31731 said:

Planting trees for building materials appears to me to be a realistic proposition that could go hand in hand with the banning of destruction of natural forest.

You'll get no argument from me! I'd rather grow trees than cattle or pigs any day!

Better yet, food forests of several varieties can satisfy different requirements.

(I may have cited that before: I'm very keen on forest farming.)

Edited by Peterkin
wrong quote
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Well, I was going to reply to Mack, but Pete seems to have covered my points with remarkable thoroughness.  My reply was something like quick release by forest clearance is the main problem.   And oceans, which lose carbon storing capacity as they rise in temperature and lose phytoplankton and seagrass, cannot pick up the slack.

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On 11/2/2021 at 4:01 PM, Doogles31731 said:

hat's a start of course, and it's a sensible move quite independent of climate change, in my opinion. But it's easier said than done. How do we get the increased farm products and building materials for extra farm products for the increasing P*********, unless we clear more land.

First, increasing the population is a bad idea. I have always agreed with you on that problem, but I have no idea how to change people's mind-sets - especially the hard right's, and fanatical religionists' which I can't even fathom.  But there really isn't more land to be had for industrial farming, unless it's taken away from breathing, which would be counterproductive, human population-wise. However, as I've pointed out before, the practices of industrial farming are unsustainable anyway, so expanding them doesn't seem like a good idea, either. Far more concentrated urban industrial, vertical, and mixed farming is required, and the re-purposing of buildings that already exist and are no longer serving their original function.

As for the building material, you can stop cutting down trees!

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Was it associated with pledges to do more large scale tree-planting over the next 30 years?

I doubt it. What they'll actually plant in 30 years barely begins to replace what burned in just one year.

This one is very good site for all kinds of forest information

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3 hours ago, Peterkin said:

As for the building material, you can stop cutting down trees!

5 hours ago, Peterkin said:

And, of course, the young new forest is incapable of sheltering the biodiversity that a mature forest can. Where have all the insects and birds and animals supposed to live while waiting for their ecological niches to be re-established?

I was watching a BBC regualr programme This evening  - Countryfile.

This week they were visiting England's (and also one of Europe's) largest artificial forest  - Kielder Forest.
They had some interesting facts to offer.

The forest was first planted in 1920 to make the UK independent of foreign timber sources, following the experience of the 1914 - 18 war.
Timber currntly being harvested was planted in the 1950s.
For every acre harvested they replant 2 acres.
The recognise that, young or mature, most of their trees are unsuitable for biodiversity so they employ a specialist team to create alternatives within the forest, for instance nesting boxes for owls that normally nest in natural holes in trees, platforms for Ospreys (naturally returning after 250 years absence) insect, fungi etc being also catered for.

Apparantly Kielder supplier 25% of the UK building timber.
And they point out that building timber in fixes the carbon content for hundreds of years in roofing, flooring, etc.

5 hours ago, Peterkin said:
Quote

And then, termite activity is not restricted to old-growth forest; much of it is directly related to human habits and habitats.

Surely oxidation of methane meand creating carbon dioxide instead ?

Wherever the termites are located how is this better ?

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38 minutes ago, studiot said:

Wherever the termites are located how is this better ?

Better than what?  It wasn't a contest between termites and cattle. I'm not suggesting we should cultivate termites; I'm suggesting that a great deal of that termite emission  - if it is, indeed a more prolific emitter that cattle are* -

8 hours ago, mistermack said:

I read somewhere that termites on their own produce far more methane than cows across the world.

happens, not in mature forest but in human buildings made of lumber, the forest floor after timber cutting and overgrazed fields; i.e. due to human activity.

* again, it seems, yes .... but

Quote

Nature could take care of the natural emitters - had done so, effectively for millions of years between volcano-geddons and ice-age melts - but can't handle the extra dumped into the system by Industrial Age Man.

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47 minutes ago, studiot said:

For every acre harvested they replant 2 acres.

I don't think they said that. They said that they replant 2 trees, for every one harvested, to compensate for the ones that die and don't reach maturity. I don't think they replant double the area.

51 minutes ago, studiot said:

Surely oxidation of methane meand creating carbon dioxide instead ?

Wherever the termites are located how is this better ?

Methane is 80 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas. CO2 does persist longer though. As far as termites go, I would have expected the figures for methane emissions by termites to be the net amount that escapes the nest. It would be tricky to measure the methane given off by one termite.

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58 minutes ago, studiot said:

Apparently Kielder supplier 25% of the UK building timber.

And they point out that building timber in fixes the carbon content for hundreds of years in roofing, flooring, etc.

Plus one to the whole post, and in particular that you mentioned timber construction as a carbon fixer.  Unfortunately this is more true in the UK and EU where homes are preserved much longer than in the USA.  The tendency to demolish old houses and buildings with good timber, and then fail to reuse it, is painful to behold.  I have participated locally in recycling demolition wood and using some myself in renovation projects.

This carbon fixing is also a reason to support strong fire codes and regulation of woodstoves and hearths.  Also, subsidize renovation by governments, encouraging that option over just bulldozing.

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7 minutes ago, TheVat said:

This carbon fixing is also a reason to support strong fire codes and regulation of woodstoves and hearths.

I'm not sure about the logic of restricting wood burning for heat. After all, it replaces fossil fuel, it's not operating in a vacuum. If all heating was done by renewables, then I would agree that wood burning adds to the CO2 levels.

I believe that coal power stations in the UK are now burning North American wood chips, as a renewable alternative.

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