Wednesday 15 June
Tasmania’s carbon negative is due to forestry, not its absence
The peak national organisation representing forest scientists and professionals has refuted claims that native forest harvesting in Tasmania has impacted negatively on the climate*.
Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon said on the contrary, the carbon sequestering power of growing trees meant sustainable forestry played a key role in reducing the state’s carbon emissions.
“Native timber harvesting is one part of broader active and adaptive management that’s required of our forests, and the sustainable harvesting and regrowing of forests is proven to contribute to reduced climate emissions, and Tasmania’s celebrated carbon-negative status” Mr Gordon said.
“With young trees absorbing more carbon and old trees storing more carbon, a diverse multi-age managed forest provides a holistic solution to climate change.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledges that sustainable forest management helps tackle climate change by maintaining forest carbon sinks, including by transferring carbon to wood products.
“To ignore this fact and only count emissions produced during harvesting is akin to only counting the CO2 emissions from making solar panels but not the CO2 they save by producing renewable electricity.
“Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, conserving, using and caring for forests. It is an important tool for managing forest carbon and is one of the only sectors that can absorb more carbon than it emits.
“In Tasmania, trees regrowing after harvesting are not just absorbing more carbon than is emitted from harvesting trees, but they are absorbing more carbon than the entire state emits.
“To put it simply, if past timber harvesting had never occurred and new trees regrown, Tasmania’s carbon-negative position would not have been achieved.
“Sacrificing a sustainable forestry sector while emissions are still increasing in other sectors is not a genuine climate action, nor is it a long-term climate change solution.”
*ABC Tasmania, Tasmania’s native forest logging sector the state’s highest carbon emitting industry, green group backed report finds, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-15/carbon-emissions-native-forestry-report-wilderness-society/101151838
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