New England Forests Have Untapped Potential In Fight Against Climate Change


Published:

A new paper published in the Journal of Forestry reveals that New England’s forests can mitigate climate change much more than previously thought. Authors representing three non-profit organizations collaborated to bring together expertise in forest management, climate change science, and policy: The New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF), Woods Hole Research Center, and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. According to the authors, growing sustainable forests and then using forest products in tall wood buildings could capture and store globally significant amounts of carbon while eliminating the carbon pollution from the manufacture of concrete and steel.

“The role of global forests in mitigating climate change was strongly recognized in the Paris Agreement of 2016, but we didn’t go far enough. We now know that additional new approaches could dramatically increase the climate benefits of forest conservation, management and the use of forest products,” explains the report’s lead author Alec Giffen Senior Advisor for the New England Forestry Foundation.

Bob Perschel, co-author and NEFF’s Executive Director, connects the findings to impacts on land ownership and management: “If a portion of New England’s 170,000 private forest landowners can be incentivized to manage their forests for climate mitigation, we can activate powerful approaches to reaching state, regional and national climate mitigation goals.”

In “Seeing Forests for More than Carbon in Trees: Incentivizing Actions Beyond Carbon Storage to Mitigate Climate Change,” the authors call for expanding the use of forest products in residential and commercial building construction to avoid emissions of carbon and to sequester more of it, as well as managing forests for additional climate benefits beyond storing carbon.

“Sequestering carbon has long been recognized as an important way living forests can contribute to reduced greenhouse gas levels,” explains Giffen. “In addition, we can sequester carbon outside of forests by using wood in long-lasting tall structures, and we can manage forests for greater cooling effects and for reduced uses of fossil fuels in other sectors. These opportunities need to be investigated and deployed.”

Using new engineered wood products to replace steel and concrete in mid- to high-rise construction, say the authors, will help store carbon for the life of the building. Simultaneously, forests will store more carbon with new tree growth.

"It has been known for some time that deforestation is a major contributor to climate change. But forests can also mitigate the problem. This paper demonstrates that constructing large buildings with wood is an immediately viable strategy that stores carbon for a long time," said Woods Hole Research Center President Phil Duffy.

“We can keep much CO2 out of the atmosphere, and avoid a lot of fossil fuel use, by building with wood instead of steel, concrete, and bricks,” says Chadwick Oliver, Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. “And new timber product innovations are long-lasting, more resistant to fires and earthquakes than concrete, steel, and brick buildings, and require relatively little fossil fuel and CO2 emissions in their construction.”

Co-author of the new article Will Price, President of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, explains it this way, “The key is looking long-term and holistically at the flows of carbon in the system, where it stays, where it goes, and what would happen otherwise.”

The article also describes ways forests can be managed for climate mitigation effects beyond storing carbon, for example:

  • Better understanding of how forests cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space. The phenomena known as the “albedo effect” includes the reflection from snow in northern latitudes in winter.

  • Managing forests to optimize the climate effects of organic compounds they release into the atmosphere. These compounds, known as BVOCs (biogenic volatile organic compounds), can affect temperatures by directly reflecting sunlight and by causing more cloud formation.

  • Planting or maintaining trees to increase agricultural productivity, reducing the need for further agricultural clearing of forests.

Additionally, a recent article by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) points to the role trees have on the water cycle, and the resulting climate benefits. Understanding and rewarding these and other effects could in turn create more financial incentives to conserve forests, the authors say.

“If we fail to account for all of the benefits that forests provide, we won’t provide the incentives and support to landowners to encourage management that would reduce climate change,” says Giffen. “Recognizing and rewarding these climate benefits could bolster economic incentives to keep landscapes forested.”

The article recommends global policymakers recognize these effects, find methods for compensating landowners for climate-friendly management practices, develop incentives for accelerating wood use in buildings, and support further research on the specifics of the expanded climate services forests can provide.

“Forests are the most widespread terrestrial ecosystem,” says co-author Frank Lowenstein, Deputy Director at NEFF. “It is vital that we manage them to the planet’s fullest advantage in the face of the climate crisis.”

The New England Forestry Foundation is dedicated to providing for the conservation and ecologically sound management of privately owned forestlands in New England, throughout the Americas and beyond.

See also:
New Thinking To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
How Homeowners Can Help Restore Carbon

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

December 14, 2018

The waxing Pisces Moon makes a late morning conjunction with mystery planet Neptune. The duo can have a variety of interesting effects. Daydreaming has its allures. Creative inclinations may also be strong, especially with Mars nearby in the sign of the…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2018

No Events
No Events

Join us the second Tuesday evening of the month for a Reiki Share in the Usui Reiki system of natural healing. We are a gathering of Reiki practitioners who share experiences, practice...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Contact Name: Brad Fanger

More information

Please join us at our monthly meetings, second Wednesday each month September - June in Westboro, MA. A welcoming community working for the greater health and wellbeing of all. Contact...

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Journaling can be a part of your inner work and is, in fact, on the tree of contemplative practices.  Whether you are a meditator or keep a journal or neither of the above, all are welcome to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waltham Public Library
735 Main Street
Waltham, MA  02451
View map »


Sponsor: Louise Goldstein
Telephone: 617-710-6145
Contact Name: Waltham Public Library
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Sponsored by the Canton Spiritualist Church. Held at the Blue Hills, Canton, MA. Psychics, mediums, readings for a fee. Free healings.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Blue Hills
Canton, MA


Sponsor: Canton Spiritualist Church
Telephone: (617) 469-2568

More information

Discover the power of body tapping and nature based solutions that will help you: More effectively manage and ease chronic pain issues. Clear stuck energy with body tapping. Learn the basic...

Cost: $49

Where:
Clearpoint Center
259 East Street
Stafford Springs, CT  06076
View map »


Sponsor: Clearpoint Center
Telephone: 860-684-3994
Contact Name: Steve Munn
Website »

More information

With Susie Masters We warmly invite you to join us for The Winter Solstice Workshop. Celebrate the shortest day while giving yourself the space to feel and experience the now. During this...

Cost: $45

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 East. Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

All are invited to a special barefoot, free style dance and live music event on December 15th from 7:30pm–10pm in Greenfield, Massachusetts. We will be having a special freestyle, barefoot...

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
The Episcopal Church of St. James & Andrew
71 Federal St.
Greenfield, MA  01301
View map »


Sponsor: Dance Spree
Telephone: (413)658-7011 (no texting please)
Contact Name: Jasper Lapienski
Website »

More information

Tired of missing opportunities that could further your life, your education, even your work? Tired of missing threats that continue to hold back your life, your education, even your work? Sit down...

Cost: $40

Where:
Caffe Nero
368 Congress St
Boston, MA  02210
View map »


Contact Name: Soni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags