Larry Caldwell larryc at
Thu Sep 16 22:31:21 EST 1999

In article <7rq5fa$qgc$1 at>, truffler1635 at 

> One way to reduce global impact of increased CO2 is to plant more trees,
> especially fast-growing trees. A key to growing such trees is to
> inoculate mycorrhizal fungi with them.

This is a common misconception.  In fact, forests have nearly no effect 
on the buildup of atmospheric CO2.  A quick trip to the almanac will show 

In 1990, the world consumed the equivalent of 22,906,400,000,000 
kilograms of coal.  If previous trends hold true, current fossil fuels 
burned is approximately 26,907,980,000,000 kilograms of coal a year.  
Since a cubic meter of wood is very nearly 1000 kilograms, but wood only 
holds about 20% of the carbon of coal per kilogram, you can easily see 
that we would have to produce 134,539,900,000 cubic meters (about 
8,000,000,000,000,000 board feet, yeah that's eight quadrillion board 
feet) of wood products a year and preserve it so it didn't burn or decay, 
which would return the carbon to the biosphere.

Now, an acre of rapidly growing second growth forest can perhaps produce 
1000 board feet a year, which means all you need is 8 trillion acres of 
second growth to ameliorate fossil fuel consumption.  That is 12 billion 
square miles (34 x 10^9 square kilometers for people who use sensible 
units).  If you covered Europe and Asia with nothing but rapidly growing 
second growth forest, you might just manage it.  Of course, if you take 
awkward things like mountains, deserts and the arctic circle into 
account, you would need to convert every productive bit of land in 
Europe, Asia, North America and South America into nothing but rapidly 
growing second growth forests.  As soon as the entire human race starves 
to death, you can let things go back to nature.

You may as well piss in the ocean.  Forestry isn't going to stop global 

-- Larry

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