by Michael smith (Veshengro)
Oh my G-d! They have needed a university study again to “discover” something that every proper forester has known for ever and a day. They, however, needed a study for it again. Talking about stating the obvious.
Rewarding landowners for converting farmland into forest will be key to sequestering carbon and providing wildlife habitat, according to a new study by Oregon State University and collaborators.
Current land-use trends in the United States will significantly increase urban land development by mid-century, along with a greater than 10 percent reduction in habitat of nearly 50 at-risk species, including amphibians, large predators and birds, said David Lewis, co-author of the study and an environmental economist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.
"One of the great challenges of our time is providing food, timber and housing, while also preserving the environment," said Lewis. "Our simulations show our growing appetite for resources could have cascading effects on wildlife and other vital services provided by nature."
"Policymakers have tools to increase tree cover and limit urban sprawl, such as targeted taxes, incentives and zoning," he added.
Paying landowners $100 an acre per year to convert land into forest would increase forestland by an estimated 14 percent and carbon storage by 8 percent by mid-century, the researchers say. Timber production would increase by nearly 20 percent and some key wildlife species would gain at least 10 percent more habitat, they added.
Yet this subsidy program would also shrink food production by 10 percent and comes with an annual $7.5 billion price tag, said Lewis.
Another policy option — charging landowners $100 per acre of land that is deforested for urban development, cropland or pasture — would generate $1.8 billion a year in revenue. More than 30 percent of vital species would gain habitat. Yet carbon storage and food production would shrink slightly, according to the study.
What is worrying in our age is that we seem to need a scientific study, conducted by some researchers, to “discover” the things that we have, actually, known for a long time already; in some cases for ever and a day.
Foresters through the ages have known the importance of trees and their habitat for the Planet, even though they may not have expressed it, or been able to express this, in a scientific way. But is that really necessary. We need more trees, period! It is that simple. And we need them not just for carbon capture (carbon sequestration) but also for raw materials. After all wood is made by trees and not in some factory.
For more on woodland management, especially coppicing and why, etc. see “Managing our Woods”, a small book that explains the whys and wherefores of managing our woods in this way and calls for us to return to that way.