Untouched Natural Forests Store Three Times More Carbon

Primary forests are needed to hold carbonAn important new Australian study, reported upon in a new book entited “Green Carbon:The role of natural forests in carbon storage“, finds that “untouched natural forests store three times more carbon dioxide [ark] than previously estimated and 60 percent more than plantation forests” and that first-time “logging resulted in more than a 40 percent reduction in long-term carbon compared with unlogged forests.” They conclude that “in Australia and probably globally the carbon carrying capacity of natural forests [search] is underestimated and therefore misrepresented in economic valuations and in policy options.”
This resoundingly confirms EcoInternet's forest campaign's key principle: sustaining intact ancient primary forests, by virtue of their holding of carbon and species, is a requirement for global ecological sustainability. This Earth Action Network's shared commitment to ending ancient primary and old-growth forest logging has been validated by the emerging ecological science. And we hope this motivates you to continue taking action and to participate regularly in future email protest campaigns.

What does this mean for the forest and climate protection movement? It means if you — like Greenpeace and WWF — support first-time Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) industrial logging of ancient, primary forests and establishment of mono-culture plantations that replace regenerating natural forests; you are aiding and abetting the destruction of the Earth's climate and biodiversity. It means that if you are working for avoided deforestation and forests' inclusion in carbon markets, and not specifying payments will be made only for strict forest protections and not for first-time industrial management, you are failing both the climate and ancient forests. Or if you work to set-up a carbon market while you allow your own ancient forests to be logged — as Australia does — you will not succeed in reducing emissions. Each of these activities has been the target of recent EcoInternet campaigns.
Or perhaps most troublingly, if like Rainforest Action Network and ForestEthics, you continually negotiate away large primary forests to industrial forestry for vague promises of protection elsewhere — as was done in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest and most recently with the sell-out of 50% of Ontario's Boreal forests — you are greenwashing the destruction of the Earth and all her life. Years after the Great Bear sell-out, senior RAN management thought they had achieved FSC certification, when in fact it was just vague promises of “ecosystem based management”. Such ecological ignorance cannot be tolerated by these self-appointed representatives of ancient forests and the Earth.
The era of first-time industrial logging of ancient primary forests is over. This is the motivation of our most recent Clayoquot Sound alert. There 93% of Vancouver Island's ancient primary temperate rainforests have been destroyed, yet FSC apologists such as EcoTrust and ForestEthics work for “certified logging” of the rest, which we now know releases huge amounts of carbon.
Most of the mainstream and even “radical” environmental movement simply have their ecological science wrong. They have falsely accepted the comforting yet unproven notion that achieving environmentally advantageous industrial forest management in primary forests is possible, and is a better climate and forest conservation campaign strategy than working for full, complete protection of all remaining primary forests from industrial forestry. EcoInternet has concluded quite the opposite — that it is better to work for what is needed and sufficient, even if we risk failure, than to accept what is insufficient and actually enables the ecological damage, even if achieved.
As the science continues to crystallize that all industrial logging of primary forests releases huge amounts of carbon and thus the purported environmental benefits are a myth, EcoInternet will continue our campaign targeting FSC logging apologists including those previously named. Their putrid efforts to legitimize continued ancient forest logging is shameful — particularly in the face of impassioned yet reasoned, ecological science based opposition — and they must stop, and work to end ancient forest logging while restoring natural forests with old-growth characteristics. Or they are the forest and climate crises.
We expect those in the environmental movement that support FSC certified logging to immediately respond to the ecological science, and justify their continued apologist behavior for loss of primary forests, and its impact upon climate. Failure to do so will mean continued campaigns including disruption of their self-congratulatory campaigns and events.

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17 Responses

  1. It seems that many fail to see the irreversible effects and repercussions of blindly destroying things that took eons to create. It will take quite the campaign to dispel these dark acts.
    Charles Precht
    Sustainable Home Design

  2. Charles N Emerson says:

    This is a stupid claim.
    We cannot be saying stupid stuff.
    Trees are carbon.
    They do not store carbon dioxide they absorb it and give off oxygen and store the carbon by growing.

  3. Richard Dodge says:

    Are climax forests in coatal maritime temperate ecosystems ALWAYS climax forests?
    Of course not!
    Sustained climax?

  4. FSC is going through a process right now to see if Hancock Victorian Plantations is fit to retain its certification in Australia given its dismal practices in the Strzelecki rainforest.
    It makes no sense for governments to go 'hell for leather' with expensive carbon trading schemes without maintaining old growth forest and naturally regenerated forest. A halt to old growth logging is an essential first step if humans are to make any impact on climate change.

  5. Julie Weston says:

    Yes heard this on the news this morning.. about time they came out and said something.. Wildnerness Society have been trying to push this through for over a year now…
    Kind Regards

  6. Peter Lusk says:

    I agree, great essay Glen.
    [Another important feature of ancient forests must be their vast array of microbial life with its capacity to clean up so much of the other forms of pollution we humans pile into the atmosphere – such things as particulates from diesel motors.]

  7. Jerry Scovel says:

    The solution is to buy the old growth forests, profit is the bottom line
    for corporations. If it is more profitable to sell the land than to destroy
    it they will sell it. As energy food and water become more expensive there
    exists an opportunity to acquire the money required to buy the forests.
    T Boone Pickens is no fool and he is building the largest windfarm in the
    world. He expects to make another fortune, I am willing to bet that he does.
    By using clean energy to finance saving the forests you kill two polluters
    with the same stone, so to speak.

  8. Brad Harris says:

    As Al Gore said
    “It's a simple matter of moral imperative that we act now”
    (something like that anyway)
    I was out trail riding on South Vancouver Islands west coast this weekend and just disgusted to see the foresters have been hard at work marking off the last of the ancient wildlife habitat left in the valley bottoms.
    Thank goodness the lumber market is soft right now and logging has slowed lately buying us time to build a public consensus that business as usual is over as the logging industry knew it.

  9. Sara Dickon says:

    I have been campaigning for a long time for good environmental action,and preservation of old growth forests would be top of the list. Go to it.

  10. Max Whisson says:

    focussing on “carbon trading”. if old forests were a privately owned corporation they would sell their immense carbon credits to companies wishing to burn them to build a coal burning power station. We must redefine “profit' and “bottom line'. Old growth forests are immensely profitable. In addition to converting carbon dioxide to green leaves and oxygen they increase the rainfall and provide irreplaceable habitats for many species including ourselves and a myriad of forgotten and ignored species in the earth below the trees. I don't agree that governments should buy the forests. I say the people of the world should take possession of them and develop harsh penalties for any group or person that damages an old tree without a healthy reason. This radical change can be achieved if enough people really understand the massive vandalism being inflicted on our one and only world.

  11. Silke Klemm says:

    Every man, woman and child on this earth must now what it means for the future of our globe and all of us, if the destroying of the rainforest continues. Please continue to inform people and fight against this TERROR. Silke Klemm

  12. Sean Debow says:

    If you are reproducing then you really do not care about the ecology.
    There are too many people on this planet. ZERO POPULATION GROWTH IS THE

  13. Debora Edholm says:

    The value of the forests can not be under estimated. Here in Costa Rica the President is working to make the country carbon neutral. The country realizes the importance of protecting the rain forests. This is critical for the future of our planet. We must stop the corporate giants from destroying what is left. Zero population growth is not the answer. Getting back to the basics and being able to make a living near our homes and feed ourselves is one answer. Everyone has the right to have children and when we leave the earth what better can we leave than our own educated and loving children???????????

  14. Pete Lusk says:

    A story on this subject appeared in the Westport News (our local paper)yesterday.
    Lets hope its going around the world and it tips the balance towards saving ancient forests.
    Cheers, Pete Lusk
    [We now have almost no logging of ancient forests here in Aotearoa NZ.
    But gold & coal mines, hydro schemes and clearance along highways are the big threats, along with some backward-looking dairy farmers wanting more pasture.]

  15. Pablo Indeke says:

    Yes! How will Forest ETHICS respond to this new study?
    We've known for years the value for biodiversity of these forests. Guess preserving biodiversity is not an ethical imperative.

  16. vincent katungi says:

    we can all fight against deforestation by handling poverty and good governance.In uganda for instance how do you tell a poor man not to cut trees for fire wood to cook his food? only about9%of the population are connected with electricity; the rest rely on cutting natural forests as the only means of fuel. Forestry officials are also corrupt. they will allow you to cut any number of trees in exchange of money. our politicians seeking cheap popularity will allow encroachment on reserve forests with impunity.

  17. This is exactly the kind of thing I reflect upon prior to hiking.
    There sure is a lot in the forests to store carbon. And in our area, water too.
    In fact, I just reloaded my own forest page back online this week:
    A place to store my thoughts and rambings.
    I'm not all too brilliant when it comes to the technical aspects, but it's a big interest. I'm middle of the road on management, but realize that leaving a lot remaining in a forest is more middle of the road than many people realize.
    Oregon / USA

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