How much carbon comes from deforestation?
A study has concluded that the volume of greenhouse gas released when a forest is cleared depends on how the trees will be used and in which part of the world the trees are grown.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, come from researchers at the University of California. They took a deeper look at the complex global effects of deforestation on greenhouse gas emissions and found that when trees are felled to create solid wood products, that wood retains much of its carbon for decades.
It is when it is used for bioenergy or turned into pulp for paper that nearly all of its gases are emitted to the atmosphere.
The researchers analysed how 169 countries used harvested forests. They found that temperate forests located in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe are cleared primarily for use in solid wood products, while the tropical forest of the Southern Hemisphere are more often cleared for use in energy and paper production.
The study provides new information that could help inform climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and have potential implication for biofuel incentives based on greenhouse gas emissions.
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