Harvesting Forests
Nate Hagen - The 6th Pool - Frankly | YouTube  (13 min 06sec)
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Summary of Nate Hagen's Video

Further comments on harvesting forests
Our immediate and foremost objective should be to reduce emissions of CO2 and its equivalents to the atmosphere as soon as possible so as to avoid potential tipping points.

Planting more trees will absorb CO2. There are peer reviewed publications on the rate that particular species absorb CO2, and each specie has a CO2 absorption profile while growing from a sapling to a fully grown tree. It is an advantage to plant fast growing trees so that CO2 is absorbed as soon as possible.

Note that planting trees is a somewhat futile exercise if we do not at the same time reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. Paying someone else to plant trees each time we take a flight might salve our conscience, but it does not cut the mustard when it comes to an accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. It will take time for that planted tree to absorb the CO2 emissions that you contributed to and we need to reduce CO2 emissions now and not later.

Cutting down trees and burning them will result in CO2 emissions at a time when we can ill afford to increase CO2 emissions. It will take time for replacement trees to absorb the CO2 emitted from previously burned trees. Sustainable harvesting with a balancing of emissions countered by absorption from the same forest takes time to establish. Sustainable harvesting with a zero CO2 impact occurs only when the CO2 emissions of a small cohort of a population of trees (a forest) which are cut down and burned are matched by the CO2 absorption of new trees that are planted and by trees that are growing and maturing. The dynamics of emissions and absorption are more complicated to model than that of, say, human populations. A steady state and stable human population is simply achieved when deaths at all ages equals births over a prolonged period.

Any form of CO2 equivalents emitted to the atmosphere adds to and accumulates in the atmosphere. Methane emissions are initially more potent. Greater focus than that which is current should be placed on reducing methane emissions. It is now that we need to reduce all forms of CO2 equivalents. It is no solace that the impact of methane disappears in the future while current methane emissions contribute to potentially triggering tipping points with a resulting cascade of further potent methane emissions from permafrost.

In summary, it is the dynamics of emissions and absorption which will determine the increase in levels of CO2 equivalents to the atmosphere. Actions now to mitigate the impact of climate change are better than belated action in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Further reading
Bentsen, N.S. (2017) Carbon debt and payback time – Lost in the forest? Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review's 73 (2017) 1211-1217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.02.004

Bologna, M., Aquino, G. (2020) Deforestation and world population sustainability: a quantitative analysis. Sci Rep 10, 7631 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63657-6
SENIORS CLIMATE  ACTION NETWORK (SCAN)