Industrial Ancient Forest Logging — Both Legal and Illegal — Primary Preventable Cause of Climate Change
It is very encouraging to see a high-profile U.S. politician — former US Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry — proposing serious legislation to address illegal logging [search] in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Destruction and diminishment of primary and old-growth natural forest habitats [search] is responsible for about one quarter of human caused greenhouse gas emissions [search]. There is a booming and out of control illegal logging industry preying upon these life-giving ecosystems and they must be stopped if humanity and the Earth are to have a chance. The proposed “Combat Illegal Logging Act” is a much needed first step to stop this ecological evil.
However it is disappointing that “legal” clearing and selective first time logging of primary ancient forests is given a pass. There is little or no difference in ecological impact between first time legal and illegal ancient forest logging. An evolutionarily distinct, millions of year old ancient forest does not differentiate much between being industrially dismantled legally or illegally, or for that matter between being totally deforested or heavily commercially selectively logged. In either case what was once an ancient forest is no longer, and in both cases massive carbon release happens immediately, while future ability to function as a carbon sink is diminished if not destroyed.
To certify that “legal” ancient forest dismemberment is somehow OK while illegal is not disingenuously and falsely suggests there is a sizeable difference in impacts upon climate, biodiversity and other ecosystem services. There is not. This is why EcoInternet campaigns tirelessly to End Ancient Forest Logging — even targeting for protest prime ancient forest logging apologists Greenpeace and WWF [alert]. It is abundantly clear that even FSC certification is no guarantee of ecological sustainability or legality of ancient forest logging.
Global ecological sustainability depends critically upon maintaining large, intact, contiguous, natural, non-industrially managed ecological reserves to power the biosphere. This is of course very politically problematic, but to survive as a species and a biologically complex Earth; finding the right policy combination of local, community based small-scale eco-forestry management [search] and strict protection with payments for avoided deforestation [search] and industrial diminishment must be actively sought. This is not an opinion. It is ecological fact based upon findings of ecological, global change and conservation biology sciences.