11th Hour Panic and Using More Lumber

by: M F

Here is a great article from the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, in response to the new documentary 11th Hour (which I have not seen). Here is a very interesting excerpt from the article (bolding is mine). I don't have an opinion on carbon credits either way, but I thought the stats on forest expansion are surprising:

As a lifelong environmentalist, I say trees can solve many of the world's sustainability challenges. Forestry is the most sustainable of all the primary industries that provide us with energy and materials. Rather than cutting fewer trees and using less wood, DiCaprio and Berman ought to promote the growth of more trees and the use of more wood.

Trees are the most powerful concentrators of carbon on Earth. Through photosynthesis, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in their wood, which is nearly 50 per cent carbon by weight. Trees contain about 250 kilograms of carbon per cubic metre.

North Americans are the world's largest per-capita wood consumers and yet our forests cover approximately the same area of land as they did 100 years ago. According to the United Nations, our forests have expanded nearly 100 million acres over the past decade.

The relationship between trees and greenhouse gases is simple enough on the surface. Trees grow by taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, through photosynthesis, converting it into sugars. The sugars are then used as energy and materials to build cellulose and lignin, the main constituents of wood.

There is a misconception that cutting down an old tree will result in a net release of carbon. Yet wooden furniture made in the Elizabethan era still holds the carbon fixed hundreds of years ago.

Berman, a veteran of the forestry protest movement, should by now have learned that young forests outperform old growth in carbon sequestration.

Although old trees contain huge amounts of carbon, their rate of sequestration has slowed to a near halt. A young tree, although it contains little fixed carbon, pulls CO2 from the atmosphere at a much faster rate.

When a tree rots or burns, the carbon contained in the wood is released back to the atmosphere. Since combustion releases carbon, active forest management -- such as removing dead trees and clearing debris from the forest floor -- will be imperative in reducing the number and intensity of fires.

The role of forests in the global carbon cycle can be boiled down to these key points:

Deforestation, primarily in tropical forests, is responsible for about 20 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. This is occurring where forests are permanently cleared and converted to agriculture and urban settlement...

To address climate change, we must use more wood, not less. Using wood sends a signal to the marketplace to grow more trees and to produce more wood. That means we can then use less concrete, steel and plastic -- heavy carbon emitters through their production. Trees are the only abundant, biodegradable and renewable global resource.

DiCaprio's movie, The 11th Hour, is another example of anti-forestry scare tactics, this time said to be "brilliant and terrifying" by James Christopher of the London Times.

Here is a list of all of the public lumber companies:

  • Advanced Environmental Recycling Tech (OTCQB:AERT)
  • Amerimex IntL (OTCPK:AMMX)
  • American Woodmark Corp (NASDAQ:AMWD)
  • Deltic Timber Corp. (NYSE:DEL)
  • Hesperia Holding Comp. (HSPR.PK)
  • Jewett-Cameron Trading Company (NASDAQ:JCTCF)
  • Koppers Holdings (NYSE:KOP)
  • Leucadia National (NYSE:LUK)
  • Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE:LPX)
  • Masco Corp (NYSE:MAS)
  • Masisa SA (MYS)
  • Patrick Industries (NASDAQ:PATK)
  • Pope Resources (POPEZ)
  • Trex Company (TWP)
  • Universal Forest Products (UFP)
  • Weyerhaeuser Corp (NYSE:WY)
  • About this article:

    Problem with this article? Please tell us. Disagree with this article? .