A warning on de-forestation

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Dear Editor,
I recently wrote to congratulate the community of Barana on Mount Austen on plans to re-plant trees and protect the ecosystems in a proposed park.
Communities in the Solomon Islands, like the Barana one, must be further encouraged to work towards environmental sustainability as climate change continues to threaten livelihoods.
Resilience to climate change can be helped by curtailing deforestation as recent evidence has demonstrated in other parts of the world.
In a recent article on the subject in the International Business Times on 7 September 2017, it said:-
“More attention should be paid to deforestation and how the land is used subsequently – the effects of which make a bigger contribution to climate change than previously thought.
“Research, conducted by Cornell University and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, shows just how much this impact has been underestimated. Even if all fossil fuel emissions are eradicated, if current rates of deforestation in the tropics continue through to 2100 then there will still be a 1.5 degree Celsius increase in global temperature.
“Most scientists believe that a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels will bring dangerous disruption to the world’s climate. Indeed, many already think this target may be unattainable.
“In addition to reducing reliance on fossil fuels, scientists and policymakers must pay more attention to deforestation and the subsequent changes in land use for agricultural and other human industry. The negative consequences of this process are manifold.
“When deforestation occurs, the burning of trees and plants releases carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere. The problem is compounded when the land is then converted to farming or other human usage, releasing large amounts of other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide. Furthermore, the deforested area can no longer function as a carbon sink – trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“The research showed this process has double the overall warming contribution than previously thought making it “twice as important”
“Normally people only think about what’s happening right now when they think about the carbon budget. But if you think about what’s going to happen over the lifetime of that land, long into the future, you should multiply that land conversion by two to understand the net effect of it.”
In the Solomon Islands if de-forestation occurs without re-planting then looking forward in time one can only assume the impact de-forestation will add to climate change and the prospect isn’t looking good.
Yours sincerely
Frank Short
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