The need to manage national forests as carbon sinks

Forest fire prevention? Thinning? Maximize size of individual tress? Leave it alone? It’s hard to say

The article below is related to the one posted about “Sen. Udall sponsors bill to attack pine beetles.”

It’s good to finally see some attention to the role of forests as carbon sinks, but it is not clear how to maximize their role as sinks, or even how to prevent them from becoming carbon sources.

On thing the article doesn’t discuss the the amount of carbon stored in forest soils. In the dry interior forests with shallow soils, it probably isn’t much. In the wet, big tree  forests west of the Cascades up into British Columbia and coastal Alaska , the kind of logging done in the past, clearcuts followed by burning slash, has a horrible effect on the carbon storage.

Every kind of forest probably needs to have a different carbon management plan.

Story in the New York Times by William Yardley. Note that the Times headline is misleading as a description of the article’s content.

Canada’s boreal forest top-rated carbon warehouse

The Carbon the World Forgot — the boreal forest-

“The boreal forest stores more carbon than any land-based ecosystem on the planet, according to a new report that says the Amazon is no match for Canada’s boggy bush.”

It turns out that a major reason is all peat under the trees. Too many carbon sequestration analyses only look at the vegetation above the ground, maybe not even the roots, and certainly not the soil. Very serious errors of policy will be made unless the entire structure of the land from bedrock to the tallest vegetation is not taken into account.

Story: Canada’s boreal forest top-rated carbon warehouse. By Margaret Munro, Canwest News Service.

In Obama’s Team, 2 Camps on Climate

Want a relatively inexpensive method of removing carbon with small economic impact? Remove livestock from the vast acreage of public lands-

Story in the New York Times. Two camps. By John Broder  (story doesn’t mention the above because Obama team is unaware of how much cattle and sheep reduce the amount of carbon rangelands can sequester and just as bad, add methane to the air).