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Forest fires vs. forest carbon

Should forests be thinned to reduce fires, or should they be tended to store the maximum amount of carbon in their trees to prevent global warming?

It is not a simple question, as researchers at Oregon State University explain in a new study in Ecological Applications, a professional journal.

Stephen R. Mitchell, an OSU researcher now at Duke University, and other scientists studied the Coast Range and the west side of the Cascade Mountains and found that salvage logging, understory removal, prescribed fire and other techniques can reduce fire severity. But these same techniques will almost always reduce carbon storage even if the woody products that are removed are then used to produce electricity or make cellulosic ethanol, they found.

"It had been thought for some time that if you used biofuel treatments to produce energy, you could offset the carbon emissions from this process," said Mark Harmon, an OSU professor of forest ecosystems and society and a co-author of the study. "But when you actually go through the data, it doesn't work."
Harmon said that policymakers should consider using forests on the west side of the Cascades, the wetter side, for carbon sequestration, and focus fuel-reduction efforts near people, towns and infrastructure.

However, the Oregon State findings may not be applicable to other forests. "It is a fertile debate," said Andrea Tuttle, former head of the California Department of Forestry and an authority on forest carbon regulation. "But be careful what forest type you are talking about." Studies of other forests have produced different results, she explained, citing a UC Berkeley study of warmer, drier Sierran forests that found that measures to increase fire resistance were also applicable to long-term carbon sequestration.

The study comes at a time when state governments and the U.S. Congress, as well as other nations, are looking to forests to offset emissions from automobiles, power plants and other sources of carbon dioxide, which, scientists say, is heating the planet to dangerous levels. Trees suck carbon out of the atmosphere and store it for long periods. California recently enacted strict rules to govern the use of offsets for carbon sequestration in forests.

-- Margot Roosevelt

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Andrea Tuttle, the forest carbon expert quoted above, is a member of the Pacific Forest Trust board of trustees. She has noted the importance of the OSU work in taking a close look at life-cycle accounting for biomass. “It’s easy to assume energy from wood is carbon neutral, but it may not be if it comes from excess depletion of the forest carbon bank,” she says.

While the OSU research results would not necessarily be the same in different types of forests (ie, such as over-stocked, younger stands in the warmer, drier Sierran forests – where fire risk is very high) this study does send an important message to policymakers hammering out climate change legislation. Before giving credit for climate-friendly forest management practices, it will be essential to do the full accounting and check the bottom line.

Good accounting of how much carbon is stored and released by forest management projects – like thinning for biomass – will provide the credible data needed for marketable forest-based emissions reductions.

Chris Harrison
Communications Director
The Pacific Forest Trust

Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore says, No Proof of Man Made Global Warming:

There is an intimate relationship in between Solar Activity and Temperature:

There is an intimate relationship in between Cosmic Ray flux and Temperature [cosmic ray flux (red) and change in temperature (black)]

The overall temperature has FALLEN since 1998 while CO2 levels have increased. If this is a global CO2 increasing temperature crisis, how can THAT BE? [Note #1: Hadley CRU = Climate Research Unit. CRUTv3 is variance adjusted version of HadCRUT3 which is a combined land and marine (sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies from HadSST2, see Rayner et al., 2006) temperature anomalies on a 5° by 5° grid-box basis. NOTE #2: MSU = Microwave Sounding Unit].

Between 1940 and the mid 1970’s, the global temperatures FELL during a post WWII industrial & economic BOOM; if CO2 drives temperature, how can that be?

Ice Core studies have shown that temperature increases DRIVE increases in CO2 with a 600-800 year lag. See video Great Global Warming Swindle 20m:30s to 24m:06s

Modern day meteorological observations and measurements began around 1875 during the LOWEST POINT OF TEMPERATURE DURING THE LAST 8,000 - 10,000 years per ice core studies & analyses of past temperature; might that create a “cyclical warm period bias”? See “CBC Global Warming Doomsday Called Off” (Google Video); 7m30s - 9m15s.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cliams global average surface temperature increased 0.6 C degrees in 20th century. This is debatable however as to how accurate (Urban heat Island effect) these surface temperature readings and stations really are:

The IPCC's infamous Hockey Stick Graph OMITS the Medieval Warm period data. How OBJECTIVE IS THAT?

The IPCC changes & modifies data to FIT THEIR VIEW:

THE IPCC does NOT allow data reviewers access to “their data”:

Completely inadequate IPCC models produce the ultimate deception about man made global warming:

Swedish Scientist Accuses UN’s IPCC of Falsifying Data and Destroying Evidence:

Limits to existing quantitative understanding of past, present and future changes to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration:

The IPCC, the "Hockey Stick" Curve, and the Illusion of Experience (Stephen McIntyre, B.Sc. Mathematics, Ross McKitrick, Ph.D. Professor of Environmental Economics, November 18, 2003):

First-Ever Survey of IPCC Scientists Undermines Alleged 'Consensus' on Global Warming; Poll Exposes Disagreement and Confusion Among United Nations Scientists:

Survey of IPCC Climate Experts, there is no consensus:

31,478 scientists (9,029 PhDs) and counting, have rejected the theory of AGW.

Greenland is now 95% ice, but GREEN-LAND got its name from its warmer past and was also named “Vineland” from the Norsemen (as grapes reportedly grew there) and the Vikings settled and FARMED the land. ; the Little Ice Age, mid 15th century, forced the Vikings from their lands (nothing really grows in ice).

Antarctic Sea Ice Up Over 43% Since 1980, yet Arctic ice is down less than 7%; where are the media reports on that?

Draconian global warming alarmist legislation will adversely effect poor people and economic development for poor and developing countries. If these countries are forced to use only unrefined wind and solar power, they will not have enough electricity to develop their economies appropriately.

Climate change is NORMAL, CYCLICAL and is caused by the SUN and orbital variations of the planet.

GOOGLE Videos: Apocalypse? No! (1hr 26min), CBC: Doomsday Called Off (44min), CNN: Exposed: Climate of Fear (42min), The Great Global Warming Swindle (1hr 14min)


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