|“Because native forests are so valuable as stores of carbon, government policies should stop encouraging their logging for woodchips and reject their burning to generate electricity.”
South East Region Conservation Alliance Inc.(SERCA) invites conservation groups and individuals to urgently join it in calling on Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to act urgently to reduce emissions from clearing and degradation of Australia’s native forests. Your support is urgent as Australia’s climate change policy continues to be debated.
Research published recently by Australian National University scientists, built on three decades of work, shows that our Governments have seriously underestimated the carbon carrying capacity of native forests, and the role resilient natural native forests can play in climate mitigation.
- Native forests – mature and regrowth - on average store three times more carbon than previously thought; the very carbon dense wet forests in Victoria and Tasmania store ten times more.
- Deforestation and degradation by logging cause nearly one fifth of Australia’s annual emissions. To date, these emissions have been largely uncounted and uncosted.
- Forests offer the only reliable way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and must be allowed to perform this critical function.
- Regrowth forest has a capacity to absorb significantly more carbon dioxide if left to regrow, which makes them a very valuable tool for avoiding future emissions – estimated at an annual average of 24% of our total 2005 emissions for the next one hundred years.
- Plantation expansion, especially if underpinned by tax concessions, is an ineffective, extremely expensive way of achieving emissions reductions compared with protection of the carbon sinks in native forests.
Australia cannot expect to be taken seriously internationally on climate change while we are still devastating our own forests, many of which are directly under the control of State and Territory agencies.