Uncharted Forests Carbon Offsets
The trees in a tropical rainforest contain about 600 to 700 tons of carbon per acre. A global project aims to keep that carbon in the trees. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Emrick: Emrick Forests are able to absorb carbon dioxide into their tissues at a lot higher rate than an agricultural system.
Verl Emrick is a research scientist at the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech.
Emrick: So when a forest is cut down, it not only releases all of the carbon dioxide maintained within the trees, the agricultural farming system that replaces it will then not be able to absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide that a forest would.
Emrick and his team have been in the Peruvian Amazon measuring and counting rainforest trees.
Emrick: The reason we are doing all of this measurement in determining the total carbon tons per acre in this forest is to help people in developed countries offset their carbon dioxide use. For instance, an airline that is continuing to operate, they’re still putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, they can calculate the amount of carbon dioxide they put out on a yearly basis and determine how much of that can be offset by supporting good forestry practices in the tropical countries and maintaining those forests in order to fix the equivalent carbon that they are putting out during their operations.
It’s called the carbon offset project and it gives less developed nations an economic incentive to maintain their forests intact.
Emrick: These countries can then calculate the tons of carbon maintained in their forest. Companies will then pay these local land owners in less developed countries to maintain their forest cover and it will also benefit local communities and local economies.
I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.