Are you interested in understanding how your support for our forest protection efforts can help mitigate climate change?
As the effects of climate change are becoming ever more apparent and present in our daily lives, the need for urgent action is becoming very clear. In order to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, scientists agree that drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are required by 2030, and that by 2050 the world needs to have achieved net-zero emissions1. Luckily, nature presents us with a suite of options that, along with aggressive reductions in fossil fuel emissions, can contribute significantly to the emissions reductions required by the world by 2030 to keep global temperature increases to below 2 degrees celsius. Hello temperate forests!
Temperate forests are powerful carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it in biomass and the soil3. Temperate forests can sequester about 0.3 to 3 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year, even as they age4. That equals 1 to 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). In comparison, driving a midsize car for a year, or about 20,000km, emits 4 tons of CO2 equivalent*. The Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) has been working for 2 decades to protect such forests from logging, and in doing so is helping to preserve these valuable carbon sinks. In the last 20 years the CCFS has purchased 200 hectares of second growth forests surrounding the Village of Cumberland, on the unceded traditional territory of the K’omoks First Nation. These forests are capturing and storing hundreds of tons of CO2 every year.
In the absence of the work by the CCFS, these forests would very likely have been clearcut. While it is true that as these new forests regenerate and grow they are also absorbing and storing CO2, it would take years for these forests to reach the same sequestration potential as the older forest. In fact, the new clearcut would actually be a carbon source for the first 10-15 years after harvest, emitting more CO2 than it is absorbing. This is due to the burning of the wood waste, a common post-logging practice, and decomposition.
Significance of the Lower Perseverance Corridor
The CCFS recently conducted an in depth carbon analysis of the Lower Perseverance Creek Corridor, for which urgent fundraising is needed in order to protect this valuable piece of riparian and upland forest from clearcutting.
This 12 hectare area is a mature second growth forest ranging in age from 90 to 110 years. It supports a variety of tree species including Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western redcedar, red alder, cottonwood and western yew. Carbon modelling demonstrates that this 12 hectare forest is currently a carbon sink, and is expected to sequester approximately 25 tons of carbon (92 tons of CO2 equivalent) per year between now and 2030. Harvesting followed by slash burning would convert the forest from a carbon sink to a carbon source, due to combustion and decomposition of the wood waste. If reforested, the area would remain a carbon source for approximately 15 years following harvest, at which point the trees would be large enough to sequester more carbon than the ecosystem is releasing through decomposition. On average, about 1200 tons of CO2 equivalent would be released from the forest every year between now and 2030 if the entire area were harvested. That’s equal to 300 midsize cars each driving 20,000km!
Your donation will ensure protection of this valuable carbon sink, and in turn can help offset some of your own inevitable carbon footprint.
How does your donation to the CCFS contribute to offsetting your carbon footprint?
Your one time or monthly donation over the next 12 months will have approximately the following CO2 equivalent offset impact as detailed on the table below. For example, a monthly donation of $50 results in a yearly offset of just over 1 ton of CO2 equivalent, or about a quarter of your average car mileage for the year. While this might not sound like much, your donation doesn’t just help to offset your carbon footprint; preserving this forest comes with numerous other benefits that include protection of drinking water, biodiversity, fish habitat, maintaining landscape connectivity and heritage conservation.
What is my carbon footprint?
There are several easy to use carbon footprint calculators online.
2 respected references available for free are;
- A gasoline vehicle averaging 8 L/100 km emits 4 tons CO2 equivalent per 20,000km.
- A return trip for 2 from Comox to Cancun, Mexico emits 3 tons CO2 equivalent.
- The average meat and dairy diet contributes’ 2.5 tons CO2 equivalent per person vs an average vegetarian diet of 1.7 tons CO2e; a difference of 0.8 tons per year.
Summing it all up
The CCFS is a conservation organization providing leadership and action on watershed protection, climate adaptation and conservation issues in the Comox Valley. We hope that thinking in terms of our individual carbon footprint will open the door to a larger discussion about how we direct resources locally, into projects with a positive climate contribution, that benefit our community directly while playing a role in addressing the global climate crisis.
Please consider becoming a one time or monthly donor:
* CO2 equivalent – greenhouse gas emissions are typically converted into CO2 equivalents, so that they can be compared. Each greenhouse gas has a different global warming potential (GWP) and persists for a different length of time in the atmosphere. For example, methane has a 100 year GWP of 25, so releasing 1 kg of methane into the atmosphere is equivalent to releasing 25kg of CO2 . The three main greenhouse gasses are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. (Source: https://climatechangeconnection.org/emissions/co2-equivalents/)
*Thank you to Sarah Falloon, Bob Falloon, Jerry Baldwin, Marco Rowan and Billy Raymond for their incredible support with this carbon analysis project.
2 Natural climate solutions for Canada by C. Ronnie Drever, Susan C. Cook-patton, Fardausi Akhter, Pascal H. Badiou, Gail L. Chmura, Scott J. Davidson, Raymond L. Desjardins, Andrew Dyk, Joseph E. Fargione, Max Fellows, Ben Filewod, Margot Hessing-lewis, Susantha Jayasundara, William S. Keeton, Timm Kroeger, Tyler J. Lark, Edward Le, Sara M. Leavitt, Marie-eve Leclerc, Tony C. Lemprière, Juha Metsaranta, Brian Mcconkey, Eric Neilson, Guillaume Peterson St-laurent, Danijela Puric-mladenovic, Sebastien Rodrigue, Raju Y. Soolanayakanahally, Seth A. Spawn, Maria Strack, Carolyn Smyth, Naresh Thevathasan, Mihai Voicu, Christopher A. Williams, Peter B. Woodbury, Devon E. Worth, Zhen Xu, Samantha Yeo, Werner A. Kurz
SCIENCE ADVANCES04 JUN 2021 : EABD6034
3 Lal R., Lorenz K. (2012) Carbon Sequestration in Temperate Forests. In: Lal R., Lorenz K., Hüttl R., Schneider B., von Braun J. (eds) Recarbonization of the Biosphere. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4159-1_9
4 Forestry and Carbon in BC by J. Pojar (2019) https://skeenawatershed.com/resource_files/Pojar-ForestsAndCarboninBC-2019.pdf