Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wood Use Mitigates Climate Change

15.11.2011
A recent report in the Journal of Forestry provides new insight into the benefits provided by forests, and commodities made from forest products, and confirms that using wood for energy and consumer products has long-term benefits for the environment.

"This work should help policymakers reconsider the critical impact forests have on our daily lives and the potential they have to solve problems that confront our nation," said Robert Malmsheimer, chair of the task force that wrote the report and a professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, N.Y. "We believe our science-based findings should lead toward positive reforms that encourage investment in this vital renewable resource."

According to the task force, U.S. environmental and energy policies need to be linked and based on four premises steeped in science:

• Sustainably managed forests can provide carbon storage and substitution benefits while delivering a range of environmental and social benefits, such as timber and biomass resources, clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

• Energy produced from forest biomass returns carbon to the atmosphere that plants absorbed in the relatively recent past; it essentially results in no net release of carbon as long as overall forest inventories are stable or increasing (as is the case with forests in the United States).

• Forest products used in place of energy-intensive materials, such as metals, concrete, and plastic reduce carbon emissions because they require less fossil fuel–based energy to produce; store carbon for a length of time based on the product’s use; and provide biomass residuals, such as waste wood, that can be substituted for fossil fuels to produce energy.

• Fossil fuel-produced energy releases carbon into the atmosphere that has resided in the Earth for millions of years; forest biomass-based energy uses far less of the carbon stored in the Earth, thereby reducing the flow of fossil fuel-based carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Malmsheimer, a professor of forest policy and law in ESF’s Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, called the report an assessment of “the current state of the science” regarding forest management and carbon production.

“Quite frankly, before the Industrial Revolution, when we started using the carbon that had been sequestered in the Earth to produce energy, we didn’t have a climate change problem because atmospheric carbon levels were relatively stable,” he said.

The report’s most important point, he said, is this: “Using forest products means we’re mostly recirculating carbon that has already existed in the atmosphere. It was sequestered by trees and when we burn the wood for energy, we’re releasing it again. Or if we produce wood products, we’re continuing to sequester it. But if you produce something out of plastic or concrete or metal you need to use more Earth-based fossil fuel to produce it, and that releases all that additional carbon into the atmosphere.”

SAF Executive Vice President Michael Goergen said the report provides important policy recommendations that will encourage forest management to maximize the carbon and energy benefits forests and forest products provide, while simultaneously sustaining ecosystem health and traditional forest uses.

“It demonstrates why the United States must invest in its forest resources and how their management can have important positive impacts on carbon in the atmosphere while producing renewable energy and other benefits, including energy independence,” Goergen said.

The report was published as a special issue of the October/November Journal of Forestry.

Also contributing to the study were James Bowyer of the University of Minnesota, Jeremy Fried and Edmund Gee of the USDA Forest Service, Robert Izlar of the University of Georgia, Reid Miner of the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Ian Munn of Mississippi State University, Elaine Oneil of the University of Washington and William Stewart of the University of California at Berkeley.

Claire B. Dunn | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.esf.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>