CO2 sequestration and Trees

Dennis Candelora dwcandel at syr.edu
Tue Feb 18 19:37:26 EST 1997


In article <3308F283.7A96 at forest1.fnr.purdue.edu> Selena Otovalos 
<sensualina at hotmail.com> writes:
>Al Stangenberger wrote:
>> 
>> Paolo Mori (sherwood at ats.it) wrote:
>> : Dear newsgroup readers
>> : I am trying to find updated information about the role of trees 
(and in
>> : particular: fast-growing tree plantations) in reducing atmospheric CO2
>> : concentration.
>> 
>> : I really believe that fast growing species can sequester much more 
CO2 then
>> : other species; experimental finding demostrates that the Net Primary
>> : Production of a tree plantation is growing when the trees are young 
until the
>> : respiration becom too high; can you please give me your opinion 
about this?
>> 
>> Probably the best way to use vegetation to reduce atmospheric CO2 
concentration
>> is to burn it as an energy source and thereby reduce the use of 
fossil fuels.
>> 
>> It is true that vegetation does sequester carbon in the short term, 
but keeping
>> that newly-sequestered carbon in storage for geologic time periods is 
no easy
>> task.  It's lots easier to use the vegetation for energy and leave 
the fossil
>> fuels in the ground.
>> 
>> --
>> Al Stangenberger                      forags at nature.berkeley.edu
>> Dept. of Env. Sci., Policy, & Mgt.    145 Mulford Hall # 3114
>> Univ. of California at Berkeley       Berkeley, CA  94720-3114
>> (510) 642-4424  FAX: (510) 643-5438
>
>Well, Al it is true that burning of fossil fuels is rapidly decreasing a 
>pool of carbon which receives relatively small inputs every year, but 
>from an economic standpoint it is NOT "lots easier to use the vegetation 
>for energy" in a modern industrial society.  True, half of the world 
>still depends upon burning of wood and charcoal for energy needs, but I 
>don't think anyone is suggesting that we try to run modern power plants 
>on wood alone.  The land area requirements are certainly vast, and owning 
>or leasing this amount of land is not something easily accomplished.  
>Even if it were, large tracts of relatively "natural areas" would need to 
>be converted to high-productivity plantation management, i.e., 
>monocultured, short-rotation tree "crops" would have to be used.  This 
>would eliminate vast areas of wildlife habitat, recreational parks, and 
>nature preserves.  I agree that fossil fuels are not inexhaustible, but 
>we must be careful about suggesting a transition to using carbon-based 
>fuels before they become fossilized.  It's like suggesting that we eat 
>raw meat because we can't wait for it to be cooked.  The problem may lie 
>in our appetites, not the foods we eat.




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