Updated: June 16, 2009
Federal Government must act to protect Australia’s “most carbon dense” forests
The Wilderness Society Inc
16 June 2009
The Federal Government must move urgently to protect the carbon stored in native forests as a part of a suite of measures needed to fight climate change, The Wilderness Society said today following revelations today that Australia’s native forests are the most carbon dense in the world.
New research by the Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University was published overnight in the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world's most-cited scientific journals, revealing that the world’s most carbon dense forest is found in the Central Highlands of Victoria.
The Wilderness Society said the federal government must urgently examine the contribution protecting Australia’s remaining unlogged native forests can make in making deep and early cuts to Australia’s greenhouse emissions.
“This research demonstrates how important it is for the federal government to now take seriously the carbon stored in our remaining unlogged native forests,” Virginia Young, National Strategic Campaigns Coordinator at The Wilderness Society said.
World first research from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU last year found that around 9.3 billion tonnes of carbon can be stored in the 14.5 million hectares of natural eucalypt forests in south-east Australia if they are left undisturbed.
The carbon currently stored in the native forests of south east Australia is equivalent to 460 million tonnes of greenhouse gas per year for the next 100 years.
Ms Young said the government must now assess how much carbon could be stored in Australia’s native forests, how much greenhouse gas could be prevented from entering the atmosphere if they are protected and what their long term ability to keep on pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is.
“The federal government has made provision for complementary measures to be developed to support the proposed emissions trading system and clearly there is scope to develop a package to reduce emissions and protect and restore the carbon stored in our native forests.”
About half of Australia’s forests have been cleared in the last 220 years and the carbon stocks in more than 50 per cent of the remaining unprotected forests have been degraded by land use activities such as logging.
Old growth forests store carbon best
ABC online - 16 June 2009
There are renewed calls to stop logging in old growth forests after new research found they could be the most valuable source of carbon in the world.
Australia home to world forest carbon winner
ANU News - 16 June 2009
Australia has the world’s most carbon-dense forest in the Central Highlands of Victoria, according to researchers from The Australian National University.
Aussie forests are top carbon hoarders
Herald Sun - 16 June
Australian forests are the world's best at storing carbon, a key weapon against climate change, researchers say.
Massive carbon sink in Victoria
Canberra Times - 16 June
World's most carbon-dense forests not in the tropics, but in a catchment that supplies Melbourne's drinking water, research shows.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Inc