"Detailed new mapping has pinpointed the carbon-rich forests and peatlands that
humanity cannot afford to destroy if climate catastrophe is to be avoided.
The vast forests and peatlands of Russia, Canada and the US are vital,
researchers found, as are tropical forests in the Amazon, Congo and south-east
Asia. Peat bogs in the UK and mangrove swamps and eucalyptus forests in
Australia are also on the list.
The scientists identified 139bn tonnes (139Gt) of carbon in trees, plants and
soils as “irrecoverable”, meaning that natural regeneration could not replace
its loss by 2050, the date by which the net global carbon emissions must end to
avoid the worst impacts of global heating. In the last decade alone, farming,
logging and wildfires have caused the release of at least 4Gt of irrecoverable
carbon, the researchers said.
Slashing fossil fuel burning is key to ending the climate crisis but ending the
razing of forests is also crucial. Major nations including Brazil, China and
the US agreed to do this by 2030 at the Cop26 climate summit, although a
similar pledge made in 2014 failed.
The Earth’s irrecoverable carbon is highly concentrated, the researchers
showed. Half of it is found on just 3.3% of the world’s land, making focused
conservation projects highly effective. Only half the irrecoverable carbon is
currently in protected areas but adding 5.4% of the world’s land to these would
secure 75% of irrecoverable carbon, they found.
Indigenous peoples are the best protectors of land but only a third of
irrecoverable carbon is stored on their recognised territories. Irrecoverable
carbon stores overlap strongly with areas of rich wildlife, so protecting them
would also tackle the looming mass extinction of wildlife."
Via Robert Sanscartier.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics