Zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart and a host of other terminologies

 

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“Slash-and-burn land clearing of old rubber agroforest – such practices can continue under ‘deforestation-free’ claims. Photo credit: Meine van Noordwijk/ICRAF

Attention to detail is necessary for zero deforestation intentions to succeed, say scientists

With the realization that climate change is real, consumers are demanding products that come from responsible manufacturing processes. But do market branding terms such as zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart have any meaning? A new book by the European Tropical Forest Network investigates if deforestation-free claims are genuine or simply designed to influence purchase decisions.

Consumers worldwide are becoming aware of how manufacturing processes contribute to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, and in the long term lead to climate change. With this knowledge, they are demanding products that come from responsible value chains, right from the point of the production and extraction of raw materials to delivery at retail points. Manufacturers have responded to this call by consumers by using labels such as zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart and a host of other terminologies.

Methods used by UNFCCC to account for emissions focus on the supply side, based on country land area and production systems and nationally determined contributions (NDCs). However, a new study suggests that by using demand-side accounting, looking at human population and per capita emissions based on lifestyle, individually determined contributions to climate mitigation can complement nationally determined contributions.

“Labelling products as ‘deforestation-free’ as an attempt to satisfy consumers’ demand only takes into consideration one side of the production chain without consideration for the connection with other drivers of deforestation,” said Dr. Meine van Noordwijk, a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and lead author of an introductory paper.

Making the connection between deforestation and the economy

The study explored this connection from seven perspectives: when, how and why zero deforestation claims arise in global trade; how forest definitions relate to zero deforestation claims; the degree of variation in ‘footprints’ of equivalent products; tracking products that go through multiple market transactions as opposed to easy-to-follow vertically integrated value chains; interaction of all participants in totality in a value chain without isolation of those that are responsible producers; personal consumer decisions in relation to lifestyle choices, dietary changes and waste reduction that may have a bigger effect than simply choosing products with smaller carbon footprints; and how improved productivity and value chains can contribute to green economies.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

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Plants, soil and climate change

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Data was provided from CEH’s climate change manipulation experiment, which has been running for 18 years in Cloceanog forest, a wet Welsh upland site with a peat layer resulting from seasonal waterlogging. Credit: Rachel Harvey

 

Future climate change will affect plants and soil differently

A new study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased.

Date:
March 7, 2017
Source:
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Summary:
A new study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased. This could result in a positive feedback to the atmosphere leading to an additional increase of atmospheric CO2 levels.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Forests store more carbon after logging due to favourable climate

 

 

Study maps carbon recovery after Amazon logging

by Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade

Speed read

  • Selective logging improves carbon absorption by remaining trees
  • Research analysed 133 forest plots in 13 sites across Amazon rainforest
  • Forests from northern sites store more after logging due to favourable climate

Trees in the northern part of the Amazon rainforest recover their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere more quickly after selective logging compared with trees in the south where the climate is less favourable, a study reports.

Published in the journal eLife last month (December 20), the research assessed the dynamics of CO2 absorption in parts of the Amazon after they had been through selective logging — a practice where only the most valuable and biggest trees are cut down and collected.

“The low-impact, selective cutting of trees is vital to limiting damage to large, unharvested trees, which are critical for forest recovery.”

William Laurance, James Cook University

The Amazon rainforest accounts for up to 30 per cent of the total CO2stored by forests globally. But every year, selective logging contributes to the release of a big part of this stored carbon, contributing to global warming.

These emissions are cancelled out in the medium term, thanks to the carbon dynamics of the forests themselves: the remaining trees — those not harvested — and young trees — which regenerate naturally after logging— assimilate atmospheric carbon again.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

How to store CO2 underground ?

 

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A core sample from a carbon storage project in Washington state showed that carbon dioxide injected deep underground into basalt rock turned into the carbonate mineral ankerite in less than two years. Credit: American Chemical Society – https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/11/161118105540_1_540x360.jpg

Storing carbon dioxide underground by turning it into rock

Date:
November 18, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In November, the Paris Climate Agreement goes into effect to reduce global carbon emissions. To achieve the set targets, experts say capturing and storing carbon must be part of the solution. Several projects throughout the world are trying to make that happen. Now, a study on one of those endeavors has found that within two years, carbon dioxide injected into basalt transformed into solid rock.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: SCIENCE DAILY

More Effective Carbon Fixation

 

 

Researchers Engineer Biosynthetic Pathway for More Effective Carbon Fixation

A diagram of the carbon cycle, showing how carbon moves around the planet.(Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute)

It is a known fact that different varieties of organisms on earth extract enzymes to convert CO2 into organic compounds such as sugars (e.g. plants convert CO2 via photosynthesis). However, attempts at exploiting such potentials to convert CO2 into products of high value, e.g. renewable chemicals and biofuel, have not been successful enough. Although the increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 is an issue, scientists view it as an opportunity.

A group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany, have leveraged the DNA synthesis expertise of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) to reverse engineer a biosynthetic pathway to enable more effective carbon fixation.

The innovative pathway is formed with a new CO2-fixing enzyme that can convert CO2 close to 20 times faster than the most prevalent natural enzyme that captures CO2 in plants by making use of sunlight as energy. The research work was reported in the journal Science, in the 18 November, 2016 issue.

We had seen how efforts to directly assemble synthetic pathways for CO2-fixation in a living organism did not succeed so far. So we took a radically different, reductionist approach by assembling synthetic principal components in a bottom-up fashion in a test tube.

Tobias Erb, MPI

The group started by working on multiple theoretical CO2-fixation paths that could lead to continuous carbon cycling. However, they did not discontinue the study there. “We did not restrict our design efforts to known enzymes, but considered all reactions that seemed biochemically feasible,” Erb said.

Read the full article: AZO Cleantech

Carbon sink by trees on agricultural land

 

Photo credit: CIAT

Trees on agricultural land sink four times more carbon

by

Deborah Bossio: Co-author of the study and CIAT’s Director of Soil Research., CIAT

http://blog.ciat.cgiar.org/11559/

Trees grown on agricultural land significantly contribute to global carbon budgets, say authors in this recent study.

If carbon from trees grown on agricultural land was well accounted for, total carbon estimates for agricultural land would be more than four times higher than they currently are, they add.

This is good news, and getting better: between 2000 and 2010, tree cover on agricultural land increased –three percent, resulting in a 4.6 percent increase in biomass carbon globally.

Yet while the importance of carbon stored by forests is widely recognized, carbon stored by trees on agricultural land has been much ignored, authors say.

Soil carbon: benefits of sequestration

The soil organic carbon pool is enormous – estimated to be two to three timeshigher than in the atmosphere. The additional carbon that can be stored as soil organic matter is also huge – up to 1.2 Gigatons per year in top soils on agricultural lands alone – another unexploited, under-appreciated carbon sink.

 

The impacts of tropical deforestation will be felt for many years to come.

 

Photo credit: Science Daily

This graph shows modeled annual deforestation rates from 1950 to 2009 in five-year intervals.- Credit: Rosa et al./Current Biology 2016

Effects of past tropical deforestation will be felt for years to come

Source: Cell Press

Summary:

Even if people completely stopped converting tropical forests into farmland, the impacts of tropical deforestation would continue to be felt for many years to come. That’s the conclusion of researchers who have used historical rates and patterns of tropical deforestation around the globe to estimate the resulting carbon emissions and species losses over time.

Read the full story: Science Daily