Reduced impact logging can save 160 m tons of carbon emissions per year
August 6, 2008
Improving inefficient logging practices could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forest degradation, argues a new study published in the open-access journal PLoS.
Francis E. Putz of the University of Florida and colleagues show that improved forest management could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forest degradation by at least 160 million tons per year, or about 10 percent of the emissions that would be avoided by curbing tropical deforestation. The authors say the savings will be greatest in Asia where logging activity is the greatest.
Tropical deforestation accounts for about 1.5 gigatons — roughly 20 percent — of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Basic reduced-impact logging techniques — including directional felling, log extraction paths, and cutting of lianas prior to harvest — can reduce the collateral damage done to the surrounding forest by 50 percent, cutting emissions by 30 percent or more.
Reduced-impact logging can also preserve higher levels of biodiversity and allow forests to recover more quickly than conventional logging.
Putz FE, Zuidema PA, Pinard MA, Boot RGA, Sayer JA, et al. (2008) Improved Tropical Forest Management for Carbon Retention. PLoS Biol 6(7): e166 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060166