Forestry plantations are our cities lungs and natural greenhouse gas filters.
Did you know that the 24,000 hectares of timber plantations in South-East Queensland remove 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum from the atmosphere, which is roughly equivalent to Brisbane’s carbon dioxide emissions?
In the process of growing one cubic metere of timber, about 230kg of carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and 160kg of oxygen is released. One large tree is estimated to provide sufficient oxygen for up to four people per day, and 500 mature trees can absorb all of the carbon dioxide emitted by a typical car covering 20 000 km per year.
Across the whole of Queensland there are approximately 56 million hectares of forest storing 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon (excluding soil carbon) – about 12 times Queensland’s annual CO2 emissions.
Active forests store more carbon than senescent forests
A plantation established on cleared farmland managed for long term production of renewable timber has greater greenhouse benefits than environmental planting just left to grow old.
This is because there is a limit to the amount of carbon that a forest can absorb, and at full maturity the forest will be in equilibrium, whereas a plantation forest managed to produce a sustainable supply of carbon filled timber products frees up the forest to grow and store more carbon
Across a plantation estate a ‘pool’ of carbon would be maintained if there were equal areas planted and harvested in each year of the rotation.
Permanent storage of carbon or sinks in managed plantations is more secure than unmanaged planted forests because the plantation is managed for pests, diseases, fire etc.
The percentage of carbon that can be accounted for under Kyoto accounting principles for different planting regimes.