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Reducing Climate Change Effects Through Sustainable Forestry

EWP Sustainable Forestry Climate Change

Forests are one of our most valuable tools in the battle against climate change, so preserving them and planting additional trees around the world is more crucial than ever. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, sustainably managed forests have the potential to absorb one-tenth of the projected global carbon emissions during the first half of the 21st century. Maintaining the forests needed to combat climate change could help make up for weak global emissions reduction targets.

Holding more carbon in trees and soils than any other habitat on earth, forests could help slow the pace of climate change. But at the same time, they are themselves susceptible to its effects. Climate change will increase the growth of trees that live in colder climates, but it will also boost bacteria and fungi that break down carbon compounds stored in forest soils, releasing that carbon back into the atmosphere. If decomposition of these compounds outpaces tree growth, forests could actually increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The key is keeping up the pace of forest growth. In addition to wiping out large areas of forest, irresponsible logging increases forests’ susceptibility to droughts and other effects of climate change. The United Nations, along with a number of environmental organizations, has begun efforts to integrate climate change concerns into core forestry activities in nations around the world. That means setting guidelines for forest policies and management, and helping countries develop their own policies to protect this vital resource.

Sustainable forest harvesting practices ensure that we have plenty of wood for our needs today, while ensuring that we aren’t depleting tomorrow’s resources. Non-sustainable forestry methods strip forests of the largest, most valuable trees without concern for maintaining forest diversity or planning for the future. Learn more about sustainable forestry and the difference it can make.

Photo: nikname


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