7 May 2002
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Adapting Existing Forests to Climate Change
By Dr. Chris S. Papadopol
According to a recent IPCC report global warming before the end of 21st century will be in the range of 1.4 to 5.8 ??C. Associated with climate warming are increased variability and more frequent extreme phenomena, droughts and floods. Ecosystems, in general, will have difficulties adapting to this fast pace of change. Due to their longevity, forests are likely to suffer severe hydric stress during extended dry episodes.
In search for practical means to adapt existing forests to the ecological challenges of warmer weather, especially to accrued potential evapotranspiration, ETp, this paper examines the effect of stand density reduction on soil water regime. Through continuous soil moisture measurements in a mature stand of red pine, accomplished with time-domain reflectometry equipment, TDR, in various treatments of a thinning experiment, the soil moisture regime was found to react strongly to stand density manipulation. It is inferred that in order to avoid hydric stresses that might become acute, even deadly in dense stands, due to increased weather variability, forests will have to be thinned more often in the future. At the same time, the beneficial effect of density reduction on the growth of individual trees is demonstrated through diameter increment measurements. With stand density reduction, the diameter increment of thinned stands increases, revealing a good potential for shortening the rotations. Summing up, considering the large area of existing Canadian forest, the paper argues for the idea that a common and long known silvicultural practice, thinning, when periodically applied, shows a real possibility to achieve (1) increased ecological stability of stands, through lessened accuteness of anticipated summer water deficits, (2) shorter rotations, and
(3) larger diameter stems. These consequences will accelerate the opportunity for renewal of existing stands with species better adapted to the shifting of ecological conditions.
- The paper can be read on-line at
- For further information, please contact Dr. Chris S. Papadopol Chris.Papadopol@mnr.gov.on.ca
- Japan, NZ agree to push for climate change pact 3 May (Reuters/PlantArk)
- New Zealand unveils new carbon tax to meet treaty 1 May (Reuters) http://enn.com/news/wire-stories/2002/05/05012002/reu_47072.asp
- Carbon tax part of Government policy under Kyoto Protocol 30 April (New Zealand Herald) http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=1842682&thesection=news&thesubsection=general
- EU reaches CO2 stabilisation target despite upturn in greenhouse gas emissions 29 April (European Environment Agency) http://org.eea.eu.int/documents/newsreleases/greenhouse_gas_emission
- INDIA SET TO SIGN KYOTO PROTOCOL 25 Apr (The Times of India)
- US, EU at Odds on Global Warming Despite Meeting 23 April (Reuters)
-UK company pays for cut in U.S. greenhouse gases 22 April (Reuters)
-New Hampshire Passes Nation's First CO2 Cap 22 April (ENS)
- New climate body chief denies U.S. lobbied for him 22 April (Reuters)
- Climate scientist ousted, 19 April (BBC)
- New climate chair is on defensive (MSNBC/Reuters)
- Watson Loses Chair of Climate Panel 19 April (ENS)
- Global Warming Fills Glacial Lakes to Bursting 18 April (ENS)
- G8 in Open Disarray Over Kyoto Protocol 14 April (Reuters)
- BP makes first spot greenhouse gas emission trades 10 April (Reuters)
- UK greenhouse gas trading scheme makes slow start 2 April (Reuters)
- 15 Million Trees Planted for Carbon Sequestration 29 March (ENS)
- Effects of Climate Warming Already in Evidence 29 March (ENS)
- Myth of World Forest Cover Shattered 4 April 4 (ENS)
1. EU COST E21-action on 'Contribution of forests and forestry to the mitigation of greenhouse effects'
COSTE21 launched a clearinghouse in August 2000. This web site is more than a web page presenting the Action. It aims at searching through the available information, literature and contacts, at hosting discussion lists around the theme of the Action and stimulating the activity. Everyone interested in the Action can be registered as 'guest' and access all the information. 'Guests' from signatory countries of the Memorandum of Understanding can be upgraded to 'Participants' and give information through the system. The overall presentation of the Action is given on the welcome page (http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/). Around 210 users were registered in October 2002.
COST E21 is structured around 2 working groups:
Working Group I
To evaluate and improve inventory/accounting systems with a view to refining existing estimates of carbon pools and fluxes in forests. Working Group II To investigate the influence of management practices and forest product use on current sinks and sources of carbon and to assess the potential of forest management in carbon mitigation in Europe.
Around 200 publications (journal articles, books, book sections, reports, conference proceedings, personal communications and thesis) can be retrieved from the clearinghouse.
All documents (proceedings of workshops, presentations, reports, minutes) produced under COST E21 are given at the clearinghouse: The proceedings of the first meeting in Joensuu are available from http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/agenda/2000-09-28/
The proceedings from the second meeting in Budapest are available from http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/agenda/2000-09-28/
The minutes of our latest meeting in Liege can be found under http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/agenda/2001-10-22/
The reports of the short term scientific missions 2000 are available at http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/mission/2000.html.
Up coming meetings are scheduled as follows:
22-24 April 2002 WG2 tasks 3-5-6, Graz (AT) The economics of substitution management to reduce net GHG emissions & forest-based carbon mitigation
projects: dealing with permanence, leakage, additionality, uncertainties, and socio-economic and environmental issues. Detail <http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/agenda/2002-04-22/>.
Hotel Mercure - Graz (Austria) Organisers: Bernhard Sclamadinger and Timo Karjalainen
22-24 May 2002 WG1-soils, Bucarest (RO) Expert meeting on soil monitoring and soil carbon estimates in Eastern European countries. Detail <http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/agenda/2002-05-22/>.
ICAS Bucharest, Romania. Organisers: Viorel Blujdea and Rainer BARITZ
4-5 July 2002 WG1-biomass, Barcelona (ES) Expert group meeting on biomass expansion factors. Detail <http://www.bib.fsagx.ac.be/coste21/info/agenda/2002-07-04/>.
Hotel Tryp Campus Organisers: Carlos Gracia and Raisa Makipaa.
7-8 October 2002 Valencia (ES) Fourth whole action meeting.
For further information, contact
Bureau: SDME 10/08
B 1049 Bruxelles
Tel: + 32 (0)2 29 84 456
Fax: + 32 (0)2 29 92 131
Mobile: + 32 (0)476 52 21 59
2. Charcoal Fuel From Bagasse from Chardust Ltd. in Kenya
Chardust Ltd., a small Kenyan company that developed & commercialised the briquette made from charcoal vendor's waste, has just launched a joint venture with the Chemelil Sugar Company in Nyanza Province (Kenya) to produce charcoal briquettes from bagasse- fibrous sugar cane processing waste.
Chardust already sells 5 tonnes per day of its "Vendors' Waste Briquettes"
(VWB) to institutional and domestic customers around Nairobi. New distributors in Mombasa and Nanyuki are developing VWB markets within their respective areas. The Chemelil project will build on this experience to establish a foothold in the west Kenya charcoal market by providing a direct substitute for wood charcoal- the vast majority of which is unsustainably and illegally harvested from the regions rapidly diminishing forests. The pilot 'CaneCoal' plant will convert waste crushed cane, known as bagasse, into affordable charcoal fuel briquettes. Chemelil produces up to 100 tonnes of surplus bagasse per day. It accumulates in massive heaps before being hauled away to be burnt in fallow fields. This practice yields no significant nutrients back to the soil, creates huge amounts of air pollution and actually costs the sugar factory money. All four operating sugar factories in Kenya have a similar bagasse disposal problem.
Charcoal in the area around Chemelil, including Nandi Hills, Ahero and Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria, already costs as much as KSh 400 per 40 kg bag (USD $5.00) due to rampant destruction of the forests from which it was formerly harvested. Distances from source to market now often exceed 150 km and the charcoal arrives pulverized with up to 25% unusable chips and dust.
The charcoal-buying public is ready for a change, but it must be a change that they can afford. Chardust aims to get its CaneCoal product onto the market in the traditional 40kg sacks as well as pre-packaged retail sizes at a price 30% lower than regular lump charcoal. Sales of 5 tonnes per day are anticipated by early in 2003, displacing an equivalent amount of unsustainably harvested lumpwood charcoal.
The Chemelil project is co-financed by DFID's Business Partnership Programme and seeks to provide a model of corporate social responsibility, sound environmental management and quality energy provision to low income consumers. It incorporates a technical breakthrough by Chardust in the form of a particulate biomass downdraught carboniser - put simply, a system to turn raw material into charcoal powder. This powder is mixed with binders and turned into briquettes with locally-made briquetting machinery and a large amount of labour. Some 20 employees will be employed at the 5-ton per day level of output.
Much attention will be given to the marketing of CaneCoal. As with any new staple commodity, there will be some resistance to change expected. With little institutional demand for charcoal in Western Kenya (game lodges, large-scale individual livestock farms etc.), a greater focus will be placed on penetrating the domestic market than is currently the case with VWB out of Nairobi. To this end, Chardust has already completed a preliminary market survey of the region with an aim to understanding the regional market dynamics and the specific consumer preferences and profiles for charcoal. With this information, it is hoped that a regionally focused marketing campaign designed to introduce CaneCoal to the local consumer can be developed that not only rides on cost-competitiveness but also a 'Green' theme which will involve some type of educational component.
Chardust is soliciting input for this- and would like to work with any other individuals or organizations that are capable of educating the public or increasing awareness of the value of using substitutes to lump wood charcoal. Until now, there has been no eco-friendly substitute to wood charcoal that can be burnt in a domestic 'Jiko'... CaneCoal will be the first commercial Kenyan attempt to produce an acceptable and economically viable substitute for wood charcoal that does not rely on fossil fuels.
Once proven commercially viable, the Chemelil venture has huge replication potential in East Africa and beyond. Chardust is already confident of applying similar techniques in the coffee and sawmilling industries.
With increased use of charcoal derived from agri-waste, three avenues of GHG emission reductions should come into effect: 1) reduction in the domestic use of expensive fossil fuels (LPG & kerosene), 2) lower demand for wood charcoal, reducing carbon losses within forest and bushland, and 3) by converting biomass waste to charcoal fuel, less bagasse is burnt or left
rot- which reduces methane and combustion gasses entering the atmosphere. Chardust is looking into carbon-credit possibilities and would be pleased to receive advice.
- Global warming: Early warning signs.
Click on the map to see the impact of global warming in different regions of the world. http://www.climatehotmap.org/
CDM-Connect is a targeted online community for people working in the environmental sector and in particular those that have an interest in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). We are endeavouring to deliver a cleaner global environment through the ability to contact the right person with the right skills across the globe on-line. CDM-Connect was created to allow this transfer of knowledge and for individuals to promote themselves, their skills and to create and join groups of common interest. This site is based on the tenets of: http://www.cdm-connect.org/
- Green Pages: ECO Services International?fs global directory for environmental technology. Comprising manufacturers, engineering consultants and information services, this reference source covers the full spectrum of: http://eco-web.com/cgi-local/sfc?a=editorial/index.html&b=editorial/05934-02.html
- One World Journeys - a photographic journey to witness how climate change is affecting the planet
Travel to Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest to learn how this unique ecosystem is revealing evidence of the global impact of climate change. See additional signs of climate change by exploring the Eco-Galleries and learn how you can help by visiting the Education and Action link. http://www.oneworldjourneys.com/climate/#
Thank you for your inputs for this issue: Eric Laitat, Elsen L. Karstad
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