Forests, the Great Green Hope?

By Stephen Leahy


Credit:Tomasz Kuran

Mixed forest near Radziejowice, Poland.

Dec 3 (IPS) – Expanding European forests absorbed 126 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from 1990 to 2005 — equivalent to 11 percent of European Union emissions from human activities — while a U.N. target to plant one billion trees mainly in Africa has been surpassed.

“Forests reduced carbon dioxide more than twice the amount of Europe’s renewable energy programmes,” said Pekka Kauppi, who led the University of Helsinki study, published in the British journal Energy Policy on Nov. 29.

Better conservation, migration to cities, and conversion of surplus farmland are the reasons behind the growing and expanding forests, which are mainly in Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Finland Kauppi, told IPS. The study is based on forestry statistics provided by governments and that were not independently verified.

The resulting “surprisingly high carbon dioxide removal” may be the major factor in Europe achieving its ambitious target of 20 percent reductions in greenhouse targets by 2020, Kauppi said.

“On a global scale, there is hope for the future if we stop deforestation and expand forests,” he added. Continue reading