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The Forum > Article Comments > Forests - the essential climate fix > Comments

Forests - the essential climate fix : Comments

By Lucy Manne and Amelia Young, published 1/7/2009

Native forests must be preserved: they play a critical role in securing a safe climate future.

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There is a slow realisation dawning amongst some in the whaling countries that whales are worth more alive than dead. Hopefully, finally this will mean that annual whale hunts will stop. Eventually too, it will dawn on our Governments just how precious for a variety of reasons just how precious and worth preserving our old growth forests are.

A few recent photos that show a little of the situation on Brown Mountain and why the fight to preserve it, and the other old Growth forest will continue.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38859456@N05/
Posted by JL Deland, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 10:08:17 AM
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The usual drivel on forests. Authors: please note that in commercial forestry at least 51% of logged timber is preserved essentially forever as either timber embodied in buildings, very likely in the frames of their own abodes, and the balance as paper used in books etc that can and do last millennia. Note that 100% of all commercial logging is either from sustainable logging of natural forest whereby logging rates are tied in with natural regeneration, or from plantations, whereby logged stands are replanted. I have direct personal experience of both, eg at Bulolo in PNG, Use Google earth if you can and see whether that area has been logged out over the 60 years since operations began. Or go to Wawoi Guvai, RH's operations in PNG's Western Province, S.E. corner, and see if you can spot the impact of 20 years of sustainable logging there. But you won't will you, because you prefer comments without facts.
Posted by Tom Tiddler, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 11:13:06 AM
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I believe some researchers like the US Carnegie Institution have concluded that temperature forests are roughly carbon neutral. Note however that beetle infestations may now be killing North American conifer forests so their carbon uptake may go into reverse. I believe that tropical forests regrow more quickly than temperate forests. Bulldozing and burning is a longer lasting trauma for Australian forests compared to those of say PNG. Many logs sent for offsite sawing end up being chipped. Paper from those woodchips could be burned or rotted within months.

I wonder if habitat fragmentation and local drying may eventually lead to mountain ash/swam gum being protected like the Huon Pine. Saplings are unlikely to get 400 years of cool, damp, shady conditions needed to become forest giants. So there is an aesthetic and conservation issue as well as carbon capture. More bluntly the forestry industry should have got its act together by now so they don't need old growth. There is a strong suspicion that the proposed Tarkine road in Tasmania is largely a ruse to get at stands of old growth timber. If the industry was 100% plantation based we wouldn't have this suspicion.
Posted by Taswegian, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 12:00:08 PM
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"Use Google earth if you can and see whether that area has been logged out over the 60 years since operations began. Or go to Wawoi Guvai, RH's operations in PNG's Western Province, S.E. corner, and see if you can spot the impact of 20 years of sustainable logging there. But you won't will you, because you prefer comments without facts".

Or Tom, you could go an visit Brown Mountain, Victoria and see it all from the ground! If you do, you may become concerned that the impact of logging and burning in such areas is permanent. The area is degraded for the next few centuries.

Apart from the issue of carbon storage, areas such as Brown are bio-diversity hotspots. It would be a brave biologist who claimed that they knew it all from such an area. So we could be burning a cure for cancer.

Then there is the moral issue of whether we should be destroying trees over 500 years old. They have more value for preservation for our children and for the tourist industry. Plus if people like me are wrong about their value and climate change, whats the hurry? Some of the trees are over 500 years old, they can wait for the chainsaw a little longer. Perhaps rush might be explained in that the majority of Australians value our old growth so this is a last grab that won't be accepted by future generations. The Brumby government has something to answer for.
Posted by JL Deland, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 12:14:11 PM
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Brown Mountain is in the ownership of who? Don't tell me, lemme guess - government, right?

Who is the ďweĒ that you refer to? Do you presume to speak even for people who donít agree with you?

Wouldnít it be simpler, more ethical and more practical for you, and all the other members of the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Environment Centre, Greenpeace, the National Parks Association, the Society for Growing Australian Plants, etc., and all the members of the public who want to use particular lands to grow native forests, to simply buy them? The support would be enormous, and the cost per contributor negligible. You could then devote them to whatever purposes you wanted. It would also have the ethical advantage that you are not forcing people who donít agree with you, to sacrifice values for which you are not willing to pay voluntarily.

This need not be a political issue. But if you follow the path of insisting that government have control of the forests, then donít be surprised if they then compromise all the values that you want to achieve, with all the values that everyone else in the political process wants to achieve.

By the way, the globe is not warming. Itís cooling.
Posted by Wing Ah Ling, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 12:29:50 PM
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There is a current study on the relationship between the growth of eucalyptus and CO2 being conducted by plant physiology researchers from the University of Sydney.
Apparently eucalyptus most efficient growth is when CO2 concentrations are around 700 ppvm, roughly double the current level.
There is also research from Spain and Brazil into the increase of growth rates in plant life in high CO2 atmospheres.
Is this just a fortuitous occurrence or have eucalyptus evolved in a higher CO2 environment?
I have changed my mind on the increased risk of bushfire's in the future.
It appears that our native forests will be growing and renewing faster, using less water to do it, so it will the increase in fuel in the bush rather than temperature will be the driver of increased fire risk.
Our forests appear to like what is being predicted in CO2 levels.
Posted by Little Brother, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 1:30:17 PM
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