Towards a better understanding of the climate benefits of European forests

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European forests are expanding. This trend, observed over the last two decades, suggests that European forests already serve to mitigate climate change by providing a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. The sink could be enhanced through forest management if it was tailored to fit such goal.

There are basically two strategies for managing expanding European forests: one may increase either the stock of wood or its annual increment. The stock of wood increases with forest age. In Europe, where most forests are managed, the forest age depends on the length of harvest cycles. Delayed harvest increases the carbon sink with an annual magnitude that lies in the range of 1–2% of the baseline carbon stock [1].

The …

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400 ppm

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The carbon dioxide concentration over the Arctic reached 400 ppm [1].  The globally average carbon dioxide concentration will pass the 400 mark within few year. “This is the first time the entire Arctic is that high,”  Pieter Tans  said in the interview to the Washington Post [2], and called reaching this level "depressing".

It is not clear, however, whether 400 ppm is merely a  psychological milestone, or a scientific one. The current understanding of carbon-climate-human system does not allow to make a definite conclusion about the most probable scenario of world development based on the fact of passing this impressive mark.

[1] NOAA: Carbon dioxide levels reach milestone at Arctic sites, http://researchmatters.noaa.gov/news/Pages/arcticCO2.aspx

[2] Seth Borenstein, When hitting 400 is not good: Levels …

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The dramatic loss of carbon from soils

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UNEP Yearbook outlines the dramatic loss of carbon from soils among major emerging  issues for global environment.  "The flagship publication, to be launched on 13 February 2012 at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, shows that soil erosion due to traditional agriculture is occurring 100 times faster than soil’s natural formation process." [1]

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[1]  http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2667&ArticleID=9021&l=en

New thematic series to highlight the end of 2011 – UN Year of Forests

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2011 has been the UN International Year of Forests and to highlight this, two of BioMed Central’s open access journals, BMC Ecology and Carbon Balance and Management, have joined forces to create a thematic series showcasing the latest research into these crucial ecosystems.

The
two journals’ differing scopes are reflected in the different research
themes highlighted in the series. Co Editor-in-Chief of Carbon Balance and Management, Georgii Alexandrov, introduces the thematic series in his editorial
and discusses the importance of Land-Use/Land-Cover Change models in
setting forest conservation targets. In a separate article, BMC Ecology’s Associate Editor Olivier Honnay reviews the use of a biodiversity-ecosystem functioning perspective
in forest restoration. This approach, and …

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The First Annual Low Carbon Earth Summit, paving the way for future low carbon policies

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Today marks the start of BIT’s First Annual Low Carbon Earth Summit,
held in Dalian, China. The theme of the conference is “Leading the
Green Economy, Returning to Harmony with Nature”, and it aims to promote
low carbon economies and to identify ways to play an even more active
role in control of global climate change.

This conference helps
to highlight the growing importance of policies to reduce carbon
emissions, and to encourage renewable and sustainable energy resources.
Recent research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Carbon Balance and Management, demonstrates the timely need for these future policies. The study by Dr Kutsch et al.
suggests that stopping or reducing deforestation in Zambia would …

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Invitation to submit to the new thematic series “Forests: looking to the Future”

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In a bid to increase awareness of sustainable management and development
of the world’s forests, the UN has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests. To mark this occasion, Carbon Balance and Management and BMC Ecology
are co-publishing a thematic series entitled ‘Forests: Looking to the
Future’ to showcase the latest forestry research and published content
in both journals.

For
the series we will consider manuscripts on topics ranging from carbon
cycling and climate change, to deforestation and long term reforestation
strategies. We would like to welcome original research, reviews,
database, methodology, and software articles that address these topics.
The series will be presented on its own dedicated webpage.

The deadline for submissions is the …

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Planet under Pressure Conference

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Rik Leemans and Oran Young take part in organizing Planet Under Pressure conference (26-29 March 2012, London) [1].  One of the conference themes is how to meet humanity’s growing needs, while also safeguarding the planet’s capacity to deliver a broad range of ecosystem services including carbon storage and climate regulation. The conference is to provide scientific leadership for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20.

[1] http://www.planetunderpressure2012.net/

Should we reserve carbon dioxide monitoring for scientists?

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Pieter Tans in the interview to the New York Times [1] said that he was cautiously optimistic about the new commercial venture of the Earth Networks. (This company is going to deploy a network of 100 greenhouse gas sensors around the planet for pinpointing emissions sources.) Emissions sooner or later are going to be worth money, and therefore transparency of the monitoring system does matter. Currently all greenhouse gas data and model results from the NOAA lab that Dr. Tans works in are freely available. He is worried that a portion of the transparency may disappear, when data will be provided by a commercial company.

[1] Tom Zeller. Weather Monitoring Company Turns to Greenhouse Gases. New York Times, January 12, …

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REDD+ national levels – which is the best?

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COP16 provides a good opportunity to define the steps leading to a treaty on policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries  (aka ‘REDD+’).

 

UN-REDD Programme  hosts today a session where high-level representatives from REDD+ countries, the World Bank and the UN agencies discuss the meaningful partnership inroads being made to advance REDD+ efforts and what countries can learn from each other. [1]

 

REDD+ …

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Global carbon budget updated to year 2009

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Pep Canadell informs that the Global Carbon Project has released the new global carbon budget updated to year 2009, inclusive [1].

The annual growth rate of atmospheric CO2 was 1.6 ppm in 2009, below the average for the period 2000-2008 of 1.9 ppm per year.  Fossil fuel CO2 emissions decreased by 1.3% in 2009, with a total of 8.4±0.5 PgC emitted to the atmosphere. The abrupt decline in fossil fuel emissions by 1.3% in 2009 is indisputably the result of the global financial crisis (GFC), however, the decline was smaller than anticipated, and the emissions are expected to return to the high growth rates we have seen throughout the 2000s of at least 3% per year.

 The biggest increase in fossil fuel emissions …

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