Study touts benefits of logging forests |

Study touts benefits of logging forests

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

AMADOR, Calif. ” Logging companies see a silver lining in global warming.

If accumulations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are truly a serious problem, they say, then efforts to keep forests young and gulping in carbon should be rewarded. That would mean frequent cuttings, what the industry calls intensive forest management.

That’s the gist of a four-year study produced on behalf of Sierra Pacific Industries, which owns 1.6 million acres of forests in California. The study, reports the Amador Ledger Dispatch, claims that California forests are “undermanaged” with the result of unnaturally large-buildup in the forests.

“By following intensive management practices to harvest and replant most of our lands over the course of 80 to 100 years, we found we can actually increase the ability of our forests to store carbon by about 150 percent,” said Cajun James, the company’s research and monitoring managers.

The study examined four scenarios, and found that the intensive model of harvesting and replanting about 1.25 percent of forest lands each year most successfully sequestered carbon.

Environmental groups think the science justifying these conclusions is, at best, sloppy. Chris Wright, executive director of the Foothills Conservancy, said the study only concentrates on carbon in trees, and overlooks how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere while transporting workers, harvesting the wood, and hauling the felled trees.

A group called ForestWatch, which produced its own study, asks builders to steer clear of Sierra Pacific Industry products until the company reforms its forest management polices. The company last year paid a fine of $13 million for falsifying emission reports and tempering with monitoring equipment.

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