Natural Forests Can Help Achieve Emissions Targets If We Leave Them Alone

Been sparked once more, partially by the government’s powerful push for timber burning to be contained in the renovated Renewable Energy Target.
But, The debate over the best approach to handle Australia’s 9.4 million hectares of public native forest is thrown into sharp relief from research showing that end indigenous forest logging, also finishing the industry’s change into plantations rather, could get Australia a lot of their way to its own greenhouse gas emissions reductions goal.

However, the disagreement over the best way to manage Australia’s 9.4 million hectares of public native forest is thrown into sharp relief by analysis showing that ending native forest logging, and completing the the industry’s shift into plantations instead, would get Australia much of the way to its greenhouse gas emissions reductions target.

The Australian government’s newest emissions projections estimate that, so as to satisfy its 5 percent emissions-reduction goal in 2020, Australia must reduce its emissions from 236 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the next commitment period. This usually means quitting harvesting in public native forests can provide 51 percent of the abatement activity to 2020.

Native woods logging contributes to substantial greenhouse gas emissions since generally less than 5 percent of their biomass carbon logged woods ends up as long-term lumber products such as furniture. Nearly all the biomass carbon is created into short-lived goods like paper, which only delays emissions for about three decades.

Meanwhile, around 60 percent of the remaining biomass in

Research indicates that the logging of several million hectares of Victoria’s Mountain ash woods annually generates emissions equal to approximately one-third of the yearly greenhouse emissions of Yallourn power station.

Carbon Book Keeping

The Australian government was obligated to create a projection of net emissions (emissions without sequestration) from the forest management lands within the span 2013 to 2020. If Australia’s real net emissions from forest management are under this benchmark amount, it receives credits it may use to offset emissions from different businesses.

Phasing Out Indigenous Forestry

The Kyoto cap on forestry credits signifies that any strategy to quit harvesting could be best performed in a staged way, with logging places progressively being closed down. If performed well, quitting harvesting in native forests can move employees into more sustainable and profitable plantation-based businesses, while providing a continuing and economical supply of carbon abatement which may be utilised to satisfy present and future emissions goals.

The Australian authorities could do so with its Emissions Reduction Fund. It might effectively cover nations such as Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania because of its significant carbon abatement derived from not broadcasting their indigenous woods. The nations in turn may use the funds to transition employees from the native forest industry.

An Added advantage of the plan is that it could get rid of the significant competitive disadvantage faced by the farm industry, which needs to compete against a greatly subsidised and significant loss-making native forest logging industry. The effect on timber production could be limited since plantations are the origin of greater than 80 percent by quantity of wood products.

Don’t Burn It

The current policy is nearly exactly opposite of what’s required, together with timber from native forests (like sawlogs from Victorian woods) defined as burnt to create power as part of the Renewable Energy Goal (RET). Really, the national forestry minister Richard Colbeck lately confessed the native forest industry isn’t viable without burning woods for energy.

But, if it receives renewable energy prices, burning native forest biomass can’t reduce emissions from power production by coal fired electricity channels. How the RET works ensures that if biomass is burnt it only displaces types of renewable energy generation (such as wind and solar), instead of coal since the forest industry always maintains.

This implies that such as native forest biomass from the RET won’t reduce emissions from power generated by coal fired electricity channels. But it might well considerably increase emissions from forest management, thus making it more difficult for Australia to achieve its emissions goal.

Obviously, including procuring the water supply of cities such as Melbourne, and much better conserving critically endangered species like Leadbeater’s Possum.

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