Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tropical rain forests can fight climate change better than biofuel plantations

That forbidding scientific journal, Entertainment and Showbiz: A new study has determined that keeping tropical rain forests intact is a better way to combat climate change than replacing them with biofuel plantations. It was undertaken by an international research team of botanists, ecologists and engineers from seven nations.

The study revealed that it would take at least 75 years for the carbon emissions saved through the use of biofuels to compensate for the carbon lost through forest conversion. If the original habitat was carbon-rich peatland, the carbon balance would take more than 600 years.

On the other hand, planting biofuels on degraded Imperata grasslands instead of tropical rain forests would lead to a net removal of carbon in 10 years, the researchers found. “Our analysis found that it would take 75 to 93 years to see any benefits to the climate from biofuel plantations on converted tropical forestlands,” said lead author Finn Danielsen of Denmark’s Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology (NORDECO).

“Until then, we will be releasing carbon into the atmosphere by cutting tropical rain forests, in addition to losing valuable plant and animal species. It’s even worse on peatlands, which contain so much carbon that it would be 600 years before we see any benefits whatsoever,” he added….

The river Gambia, Niokolokoba National Park. US Geological Survey photo

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