How forestry helps in the fight against climate change

How forestry helps in the fight against climate change

Humanity faces the threat of climate change and as time progresses, governments, companies and civil organizations take more and more measures and decisions necessary so that the effects of this change are less harmful, especially in the most vulnerable population areas. However, in this effort to counter the threat caused by human action, we have important allies: the oceans and forests that are great carbon sinks.

The Ministry for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge of the Government of Spain explains on its website that the concept of a sink, in relation to climate change, was adopted in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. A sink of greenhouse gases, according to the Convention, is any process, activity or mechanism that absorbs or removes one of these gases or one of its precursors from the atmosphere, or an aerosol and stores it.

In the scope of the Kyoto Protocol, the definition is limited to certain activities of land use, change of land use and forestry (creation of new forests, forest management and agricultural land management, among others) that translate into a capture of the CO2 present in the atmosphere and its subsequent storage in the form of plant matter. This capture of CO2 contributes to reducing the concentration of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere and, therefore, to mitigating climate change.

Forest plantations provide different environmental benefits

The Mexican journal Chapingo, focused on Forestry and Environmental Sciences, states in the text Forest masses as CO2 sinks in the face of global climate change that establishing commercial forest plantations for carbon sequestration and consequent exploitation would bring environmental benefits such as a reduction in pressure on natural forests, protection of water sources, infiltration of this for the enrichment of aquifers, improvement of landscape quality and mitigation of global climate change.

Likewise, conservation benefits such as forest genetic resources and biodiversity in general, and social benefits such as job creation, economic reactivation of the countryside, etc.

Three ways in which forestry contributes to the reduction of CO2

In their text “Role of forests in climate change”, the scholars of the world of forestry, Mariana Ibárcena Escudero and José Mauricio Scheelje Bravo share three ways in which forestry practices contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere:

Conservation management: maintaining the existing level of carbon in forests through forest protection, conservation and sustainable exploitation; in addition to activities to reduce the rate of deforestation and forest degradation and avoid emissions associated with carbon dioxide (CO2).

Storage management: increasing the net absorption of (CO2) from the atmosphere through carbon storage in forests and forest products, by expanding the area of ​​forests, increasing the total carbon stored per unit area by silvicultural measures (eg longer rotations, higher density of afforestation, less impact of logging), and the length of time the harvested wood remains in use.

Substitution management: replace fossil fuels with bioenergy obtained from sustainably managed forests and use forest products instead of energy-intensive alternatives (such as steel and concrete). The use of sustainably exploited biofuels produces a CO2 benefit when biomass growth offsets emissions from biomass combustion and emissions from fossil fuel combustion are avoided.

Kyoto Protocol highlights forestry as a carbon sequestration measure

The Kyoto Protocol, to which Nicaragua is a signatory, was approved on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. D. Schoene and M. Netto in the document What does the Kyoto Protocol mean for forests and forestry? developed for FAO, mention that the most important mechanism for forests in developing countries is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

CDM allows developed countries to meet part of their greenhouse gas reduction obligations through compensatory projects in developing countries . Within this mechanism, the only carbon-absorbing activities allowed are forestry and reforestation.

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