Op-ed piece in New York Times, by Bernhd Heinrich, says if forests are to help combat climate change, they must be varied, not just simple plantations. Includes:
our current plans to shift to green energy — centered on so-called carbon offsets and cap-and-trade systems — are in some applications sorely misguided.
Contrary to what you might hear from energy companies and environmentally conscious celebrities, offsets don’t magically make carbon emissions disappear. Worse, relying on them to stem global warming may devastate our vital forest ecosystems.
t is easy to scream bloody murder against tree planting as a means for biomass energy and industrial fiber production, but there then has to be an alternative (aside from the obvious one of energy conservation). We need either vastly fewer people or vastly more forests, along with a new definition of earth-friendly reforestation.
These new stands of growth — if managed as true forest rather than as a single-species, single-aged crops — would contain a mixture of mature and transitional-growth trees. Any tree cut down would immediately generate a race of others to replace it at that spot, and the winner will emerge from a natural selection of seeds and seedlings most suited to grow there. No, this isn’t the fastest way to build up carbon credits. But it is the only real way to preserve the planet, and ourselves.