Huge trees provide urgently needed answers to the crises facing our planet’s climate and biodiversity. The paper reveals synergies between maintaining these disproportionately important giant trees and forest resilience objectives, proposing shared answers to these pressing concerns as Vice President Biden urges for saving mature and old-growth trees on Federal lands.
Large trees covered by the “21-inch rule” makeup just 3% of stems in the impacted woods yet store 42% of all aboveground carbon, according to a previous study.
The United States Forest Service has recently modified the 21-inch limit, allowing giant tree cutting throughout millions of acres of National Forest areas east of the Cascades Crest in Oregon and Washington, rather than continuing to safeguard these inherited carbon and biological riches.
The new data disproves the old reasoning that said reducing the screens-competition between huge trees was necessary.
If we take down even a portion of the world’s largest trees on a large scale, we will no longer have these carbon stores and will instead be releasing massive volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a time when more sequestration by natural systems is needed to stabilize Earth’s climate.
Opportunities for legislation that promotes the protection and restoration of biodiversity while also meeting the challenges posed by climate change are gaining attention. The authors conclude that the “21-inch rule” is a great example of a policy started to preserve species and their habitats that has also delivered enormous climate mitigation benefits throughout the vast forests of the Pacific Northwest.
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These are public lands that are offering a free, all-natural method of mitigating climate change while also serving a variety of other purposes. “We recommend policy to keep existing forest carbon stores out of the atmosphere and accumulate additional amounts while protecting habitat and biodiversity,” said David Mildrexler, the study’s principal author.
Co-author Bev Law argues that humans should do nothing to prevent huge trees from standing since they store carbon for climate mitigation and offer essential habitats.
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