Monday, 15 December 2008

Lost years

The experts in Poznan have at last agreed that forests have to be included in the successor to the Kyoto treaty. This could have been decided 30 years ago. In 1978 I wrote an article 'Forestry for Carbon Dioxide Fixation', suggesting a world-wide programme of forest conservation, reforestation, density-based forest management and preservation of timber and wood products in use - using-forests-to-absorb-atmospheric.html In the thirty years since then, there would have been time to save large areas of forest from destruction, and newly planted trees could have fixed billions of tons of carbon.

All things are interlinked, and to save forests we need to reduce the areas needed for producing food. Even before the biofuels nonsense started, we were growing more and more oil-palms on deforested land in order to produce cooking oils, margarine etc. And large areas have been cleared of forests to make room for pasture or for land to produce fodder to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for animal protein to replace plant protein in human diets. Much of this increased food production is unsustainable and is helping to destroy the world's precious topsoil, estimated to be eroding at a rate of about 25 billion tons a year - nearly ten kilos a day for every man woman and child on the planet. Think what you eat!

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