Statements from prestigious scientific sources
Clearcutting removes forest carbon sinks, leading to global warming.
Natural Resource Defense Council- http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/fcut.asp
There is a widespread and misguided belief that logging or clearing mature forests and replacing them with fast-growing younger trees will benefit the climate by sequestering atmospheric CO2. While younger trees grow and sequester carbon quickly, the fate of stored carbon when mature forests are logged must also be considered. When a forest is logged, some of its carbon may be stored for years or decades in wood products. But large quantities of CO2 are also released to the atmosphere - immediately through the disturbance of forest soils, and over time through the decomposition of leaves, branches, and other detritus of timber production. One study found that even when storage of carbon in timber products is considered, the conversion of 5 million hectares of mature forest to plantations in the Pacific Northwest over the last 100 years resulted in a net increase of over 1.5 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere.20
20. Harmon, M.E., W.K. Ferrell and J.K. Franklin. 1990. Effects on carbon storage of conversion of old-growth forests to young forests. Science 247: 699-702.
Union of Concerned Scientists. Recognizing Forests' Role in Climate Change
Fluxes of CO2, water vapor, and sensible heat were measured by the eddy covariance method above a young ponderosa pine plantation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (CA) over two growing seasons. We conclude that the net C balance of Mediterranean-climate pine ecosystems is sensitive to extreme events under low soil moisture conditions and could be altered by slight changes in the climate or hydrologic regime.
A.H. Goldstein, N.E. Hultman, J.M. Fracheboud. M.R. Bauer. J.A. Panek, M. Xu, Y. Qi, A.B. Guenther, W. Baugh. Effects of climate variability on the carbon dioxide, water, and sensible heat fluxes above a ponderosa pine plantation in the Sierra Nevada (CA). http://nature.berkeley.edu/~ahg/pubs/Effects.pdf
I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change ... no longer than a decade, at the most. If the world continues with a business as usual scenario, temperatures will rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 7.2 degrees F) and we will be producing a different planet.
Dr. James Hansen, head of GISS at NASA,: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14834318/
Research by CarboEurope, a European program that has pioneered research into the carbon budget, reveals that soils in forests release more carbon than their trees will absorb in the first 10 years. Forest soils and the organic matter within them generally contain three to four times as much carbon as does vegetation on the ground. CarboEurope's researchers contend that, when ground is cleared for forest planting, rotting organic matter in the soil releases a surge of carbon dioxide into the air that will exceed the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by growing trees for at least the first 10 years of forest growth; only later will the uptake of carbon by the trees begin to offset the release of carbon dioxide from the soil. In fact, their research indicates that some new forests planted on wet, peaty soils may never absorb as much carbon as they release.146
146 F. Pearce, Tree Farms Won't Halt Climate Change, New Scientist, Print Edition (10/28/02)
Energy Information Administration: Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2003: Land Use Issues. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/gg04rpt/land.html
Summary for Policymakers:Scientific-Technical Analyses of Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change - IPCC Working Group II
Large amounts of carbon could be released into the atmosphere during transitions from one forest type to another because the rate at which carbon can be lost during times of high forest mortality is greater than the rate at which it can be gained through growth to maturity.
A Report on the Key Findings from the IPCC Special Report on Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry
Robert T. Watson, Chair of the IPCC
12th Session of SBSTA. Bonn, Germany. June 13, 2000
Some definitions of reforestation and deforestation allow harvesting-regeneration activities to be included under Article 3.3: Definitions of reforestation and deforestation based on actual canopy cover, which do not consider the concept of potential canopy cover, could lead to harvesting being referred to as deforestation and regeneration being referred to as reforestation. Some definitions of reforestation include the activity of regeneration after disturbance or harvesting, while disturbance or harvesting are not defined as deforestation. In these circumstances credits could be accounted for the regeneration, without debits for disturbance or harvesting, this would lead to an accounting system where the changes in terrestrial carbon do not reflect the real changes in the atmosphere.