Carbon emissions from B.C. forests 'alarming'

17 January 2014

An environmental group is calling on the provincial government to take action as B.C.’s forests continue to emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb.

“We’re concerned this has become a long-term problem,” said Jens Wieting from environmental advocacy group the Sierra Club.

Ideally, a healthy forest will absorb more carbon in the soil and trees than it releases, for example through burning, decomposition and logging. This is sometimes called a carbon sink.

Due to a number of factors — including pine beetle infestation, slash fires, wood waste and clear cutting — B.C.’s forests have not done this since 2003, and are emitting carbon dioxide at alarming rates, the group said.

According to the province’s own data, net carbon dioxide emissions from forestland in 2011 were 34.9 million tonnes, equivalent to more than half of B.C.’s total official emissions for that year. However, only carbon emissions from deforestation and afforestation (new or replanted forests) are included in the province’s official total. As a result, forestland emissions from other sources are “not part of any policy discussions,” Wieting said.

Read more from The Times Colonist