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Wood as energy source not as 'green' in carbon terms as thought
by Staff Writers
Hanover, N.H. (UPI) Jun 11, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Using wood for energy, thought to be cleaner than fossil fuels, could, in fact, lead to greater carbon emissions than estimated, a U.S. study found.

The impact would come not from the burning of the wood but from large amounts of carbon released from deep forest soils as a result of disturbances such as logging, researchers at Dartmouth College reported Tuesday.

Global atmospheric studies often don't consider carbon in deep soil because it has been thought to be stable and unaffected by timber harvesting, but the Dartmouth findings show clear-cutting and other intensive forest management practices can lead to emissions from such deep soils, said to store more than 50 percent of the carbon in forest soils.

Calls for an increased reliance on forest biomass for energy production should be re-evaluated and forest carbon analyses are incomplete unless they include deep soil, also known as mineral soil, the researchers said.

Woody biomass, which includes trees grown on plantations, managed natural forests and logging waste, makes up about 75 percent of global biofuel production.

"Our paper suggests the carbon in the mineral soil may change more rapidly, and result in increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, as a result of disturbances such as logging," Dartmouth Professor Andrew Friedland said.

"Increased reliance on wood may have the unintended effect of increasing the transfer of carbon from the mineral soil to the atmosphere.

"So the intended goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere may not be met."


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Asia needs 'energy settlement'
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (UPI) Jun 11, 2013
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has called for a "comprehensive energy settlement" for the Asia-Pacific region. Speaking at the opening of the 17th annual Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur Monday, Najib cited the fluctuating world economy and prolonged conflicts in the Middle East as challenges to long-term sustainable economic growth. "For the Asia-Pacific region, ... read more

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