One thing that logging companies love to tout to the public is that while they cut down one tree, they do plant two trees. It gives the impression that the logging companies are actually helping out mother nature and we all sit comfortably in the thought that wiping our butts with what is left of a once living a tree is okay.
No one disputes how important trees are for removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Billions of tons of CO2 are removed each year thanks to trees pulling it out of the air and replacing it with oxygen. Without those trees, life on Earth would literally cease to exist. So, how do we repay that debt of life to trees? We cut them down to make houses, newspapers, toilet paper and everything in-between. We believe that the planting of trees on plantations will then make up the difference, but it does not and it is just another way that we underestimate climate change.
A recent report in New Scientist by Australian researches found that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrongly estimated the carbon storing potential of pristine temperate forests, like those found in Canada. According tot he data, intact forests will store 60 percent more carbon than newly planted, or plantation forests.
Deforestation amounts to 17.5 percent of the global carbon emissions, and when companies are only replanting trees that are 40 percent effective at removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This is a bad cycle to be in. We cut down the trees that can handle the amount of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere, and replace them with trees that cannot. Even when companies plant two trees for every one they cut down, it is still 20 percent shortfall.
Trees give life to us, why do we insist on cutting them down? We need to respect the resource that has evolved here to give us life-giving oxygen, while at the same time, removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.Why cut down the forests that have been growing for thousands of years, when we could easily cut down the plantation trees, since they do not provide that much CO2 removal in the first place.
There is nothing wrong with being a treehugger, so go hug a tree while you still can.