Expanding Forests Could Help Save Our Planet and Ourselves

4 June 2017, Siniloan, Laguna.  On June 4th, in celebration of World Environment Day (5 June 2017), 20 Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) planted 200 indigenous Philippine trees at the Laguna Quezon Land Grant in Siniloan, Laguna in partnership with FEED’s “LIVING LEGACY: Plant a Tree, FEED Our Future” partner and decade long friend, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) to help restore tracts of the former illegal logging sites on nearly 10,000 hectares comprising 70% lost forest cover.

Thank you to SAVE Participants & Eco-Warriors!

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Could expanding forests be the key to our climate strategy?

In a new report published by the nonprofit Dogwood Alliance, co-authors Danna Smith mentioned:  “If we reduce logging and unsustainable uses of wood, we can increase the rate at which our forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and ensure that it will remain stored in healthy forests.”

“Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation.

To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils. We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere.

Global Forest WatchSource of Image: Global Forest Watch

An undervalued resource

At the 2015 Paris climate conference, the United States and 196 other nations agreed to combat climate change by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement recognizes that forests play an important role in meeting climate goals by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon in trees and soils. But the agreement calls for steps only to protect and restore tropical forests.

These forests clearly are important. They hold such enormous amounts of carbon that if they were a country, their emissions from logging and forest clearing would rank them as the world’s third-largest source, behind China and the United States…

The value of standing forests

Forests provide more than forest products or carbon storage. They prevent flooding, provide natural filtration for drinking water, support wildlife, moderate local temperature extremes and provide a storehouse of scientific knowledge, cultural values and recreation opportunities.

To make forests part of our climate strategy, we need a carbon accounting system that accurately reflects flows of carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Bioenergy emissions should be counted as coming from energy production, rather than as a land use change.

We also must manage our forest systems on a sound ecological basis rather than as an economic growth-oriented business, and value the multiple ecosystem services that forests provide. One way to do this would be to pay landowners for maintaining standing forests instead of only subsidizing logging for timber, fiber or fuel. We cannot log and burn our way to a low-carbon, stable climate future.”

Source: World Economic Forum (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/why-expanding-forests-could-be-the-best-climate-solution)


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