Going Green

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Are We Really Losing Forests?

This is a good example of the difficulties in assessing global issues accurately. There is little or no standardization of sampling techniques between various entities that have collected data such as deforestation. Probably the most accurate assessment will be from satellite-based imaging systems.

Do urban plantings count as offsets to deforestation of natural woodlands? If the goal in such studies is ultimately to estimate carbon sequestration -- or release -- is there any accurate way to measure all of the factors? I planted around 80 windbreak trees in the last couple of years. I know that it is less than a drop-in-the-bucket, but how many others around the world did the same? Are such things measured? What is the impact of low-tillage farming techniques? More plant residue is left in the ground under such techniques thus locking away the carbon and releasing less by minimal disturbance of the soil. How do you measure that impact?

'No clear trend' in forest loss

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Data on tropical forest cover is so poor that we do not know if the forests are declining, a study has found.

Alan Grainger from the UK's University of Leeds examined UN analyses going back almost 30 years, and found that "evidence for a decline is unclear".

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), he proposes a global forest monitoring system.

The UN admits there are problems with the data, but...(complete article here).

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