Archive for Land use and land management

Combining Bio-Based Carbon Capture with Technological Carbon Sequestration

By Dominic Pietro

Forests have limited use for carbon sequestration. Most of their carbon storage occurs in the wood itself, so a mature forest has a very slow rate of carbon sequestration; most happens while the trees are still growing. Most technological solutions CO2 removal and sequestration are still a long way from being fully developed and are expensive. At least one man has developed a method to turn CO2 into graphite, a highly stable form of carbon. The possibility of combining this new process with afforestation could lead to slow, but cheap and long-term or permanent carbon storage.

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Could sustainable forest management practices provide regular supply of feed stocks for cellulosic ethanol production at commercial scale?

By Mukesh Patir

The Renewal Fuels Standards (RFS) of US Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 requires replacing 39 billion gallons of gasoline use by 2022 with renewal fuels and of these 21 billion gallons is expected to come from cellulosic ethanol. The USDA provide loan up to $ 250 million dollars for research into renewal fuels and recently it has awarded loan to Range fuels to build a 100 million gallons cellulosic ethanol plant in Georgia using mostly woods and forest residues. Is it going to be sustainable or would intensive forest management practice be able to supply feedstock for producing ethanol?

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Switchgrass—On Corn Acreage or CRP?

By Kristen Johnson

The Department of Energy (DOE) has set the goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive by 2012, and by 2030, it aims to make biofuels displace 30% of the country’s projected gasoline use. Some of the primary types of feedstocks being considered to meet these goals are crop residues, perennial woody crops, and perennial grasses. Perennial grasses have been a particular focus, with switchgrass receiving the most attention. Switchgrass, a native tall-grass prairie species, is considered most promising because of its high yields, low inputs, and ability to adapt to a variety of conditions. But an important question concerning the sustainability of this feedstock is: where should this perennial grass be grown?

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Potential consequences of draining Brazil’s Pantanal

By Sean Killian

The Pantanal, located in central South America, is the world’s largest continental wetland. Covering an area the size of Florida and home to nearly 2,000 bird and fish species, the Pantanal is one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. While large parts of the Pantanal have remained pristine, the ecosystem is currently under unprecedented pressure from economic development, alterations of its water courses and conversion to other land uses, including a national push for ethanol production. These pressures not only threaten the biodiversity of the Pantanal, which is itself an enormous carbon sink, they also threaten to trigger the atmospheric release of massive levels of carbon dioxide if drained. This paper evaluates wetlands’ role in the carbon cycle, and attempts to estimate the carbon loss to the atmosphere if the Pantanal were drained.

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The Costa Rican PSA: A Viable Policy

By Geoff  Michael

There are a number of approaches for emissions mitigation from land use and land use change (LULUC). In this paper I summarize the current success and costs of the various incentives for LULUC emissions mitigation. As a reference point I compare the success of each policy toward getting net annual emissions from LULUC to zero, down from the current 5.39 Gt of CO2 emissions. At present, without a penalty for CO2 emissions from LULUC for non-annex countries, the only incentive to maintain the most biodiverse mature forests comes from payments for ecosystem services or for carbon sequestration.

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In Search for the Silver Bullet: Mitigating Climate Change through Oil-Palm Agroforestry

By Baruani Mshale

This investigative review compares oil palm agroforestry, monoculture oil-palm and soybean oil production using four parameters: biodiesel production, carbon sequestration, food security and biodiversity conservation. Oil-palm agroforestry promises multiple benefits including: displacing petrodiesel use; requires ten-times less land area compared to soybean; positively affect local food security; has no carbon debt; and result to significantly less effects on biodiversity conservation. Oil-palm agroforestry’s positive impacts are largely due to its need for a significantly smaller land area and the combination of palm-trees and food crops on the same land. This article further emphasizes that impacts of biofuel production depend on several factors such as choice of biofuel feedstock, history of land use, location of biofuel feedstock plantation and cultivation systems. Therefore using case studies to generalize at the global level might be flawed. Local level silver bullets are already there, but searching for a global silver bullet might be detrimental to the whole process.

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Carbon Sequestration Potential of the MillionTreesNYC Initiative

By Jesse Moore

In April of 2007 Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, announced PlaNYC. PlaNYC is a comprehensive strategy to make New York City a more sustainable city. PlaNYC is comprised of 127 separate initiatives that focus on different aspects of sustainable development. Public transportation, sustainable housing development, energy efficiency, and air and water quality are a few of the issues being considered in PlaNYC (MillionTreesNYC 2009).

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