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Deforestation may actually be Beneficial to the Climate in some areas

December 15, 2013; 1:00 PM ET

Frequent logging and deforestation in high latitude regions (boreal forests) where snowfall is common and timber activity is low may actually provide better climatic and economic benefits than if the trees are left standing.

The basis of this Dartmouth College study has to do with surface albedo (reflectivity).

The report states that if you want to use the forest for climate control related purposes then it is better to have more open, snow covered meadows, which act like a mirror to incoming solar radiation compared to the darker, tree-covered forest.

Key excerpt from Dartmouth, via EurekAlert.....

Their results suggest that including the value of albedo can shorten optimal forest rotation periods significantly compared to scenarios where only timber and carbon are considered. For instance, in spruce and fir stands, very short rotation periods of 25 years become economically optimal when albedo is considered. The researchers attributed this to the low timber productivity and substantial snowfall in the White Mountain National Forest. Thus, they expect that in high latitude sites, where snowfall is common and forest productivity is low, valuing albedo may mean the optimal forest size is near zero.

However, the researchers state that increased timber harvesting may harm biodiversity and this needs to be factored in with any decision process.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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