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View Diary: It's the economy, stupid. (Climate Change Edition) (36 comments)

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  •  Sounds good until you reflect that (0+ / 0-)

    people in poor countries burn trees for fuel.

    Growing trees requires land that could be used for growing food. The average family of 3.5 would need to grow 1000 trees. This would remove 20 acres from cultivation. (counting 900 square feet per tree. That's a circle with a radius of 17 feet) Where would city dwellers get that much arable land?

    Trees need lots of water.  They would also need to be protected from wild fires, which would undo all the good that trees do.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:13:10 AM PDT

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    •  Let's take these one by one (0+ / 0-)

      burn trees for fuel  

      Coppice: the cutting of a tree for wood, usually firewood, and letting it grow back from the stump.  This is how England took care of fuel needs for centuries.  It required a bit of planning though, to make it sustainable.  If you cut the tree so that you kill it, there won't be any fuel next year.  

      Where would city dwellers get that much arable land?

      We don't want to forest arable land that is being used for food crops.  Worldwide, only 15% of the land surface (excluding Antarctica) is being used to raise crops. The rest is open range, desert, mountains, wetlands, etc.  The land is there, just not in convenient walking distance of city dwellers.  Maybe they could pool their money together and have some people plant trees full time?

      Trees need lots of water.

      Not desert ironwood (olneya tesota).  It survives on 3" of rain a year, grows lush on 10".  There are many trees that are adapted to drought conditions.  If they were planted in rain catchments, they could easily reforest the desert southwest.  Most of them are legumes as well, requiring no nitrogen fertilizer and they make good livestock forage.

      They would also need to be protected from wild fires, which would undo all the good that trees do.

      Fire is a part of the natural cycle.  Mesquite is very good at regenerating after a range fire, much to the consternation of people who want to clear it from their land.  And a tree that burns down, hasn't had all the "good" undone.  If the burn is incomplete and a lot of charcoal is left, that is biochar, mentioned upthread as a way of intentionally sequestering carbon.

      If you have more objections, I have more well thought out responses.

      •  Just for starters (0+ / 0-)
        If you cut the tree so that you kill it, there won't be any fuel next year.
        This is exactly what has happened in a number of countries. People live for the moment. Do you know the Easter Island story?
        Maybe they could pool their money together and have some people plant trees full time?
        Just how do you suppose they could be persuaded to do that? Some of them -- in fact a large number of them -- have barely enough money to feed themselves. Do you really think that they would hire people to plant trees out of the goodness of their hearts?

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:54:51 PM PDT

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      •  A little internet research reveals (0+ / 0-)

        that the desert ironwood grows only in washes (dry stream beds that have water only when it rains). They most certainly would not grow in open desert. Moreover they are scrawny and short, barely worthy of the appellation "tree". Also, far from being "good livestock forage", the protect themselves with wicked thorns.

        The pictures I saw would never merit the description "lush".

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:04:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But not enough internet research (0+ / 0-)

          That was just one example of a species that can increase the amount of carbon on desert soils.  In those parts of the world, biomass is measured in grams per hectare, not tons.  Trees like desert ironwood, acacia, palo verde, and mesquite are keystone species, capable of supporting lots of other shrubs, grasses, and cacti, which raise the amount of life and organic matter (which they pointed out in the picture you linked to).

          And yes, Easter Island is a sad lesson for us all.  Kind of like it is being repeated on a planetary scale if we don't wise up and do something.  But to do something on such a grand scale, we need to reject the words of St. Ronnie and realize that government IS the answer.  Planting projects not just here but in ALL of the countries that have land that can be devoted to it.  There is such a plan, and you can read more about it here.  Do note the part that it could be implemented by countries dedicating just 10% of their current military budget to the plan.

          I'm pretty convinced that it can work; the big question is whether we can pull together for the planet and actually accomplish it.  If you're going to continue to argue the defeatist position, we're going to have to do this over a few beers -- if I can't bring you around, maybe the beer will.

          •  Look, I'm not against planting trees. (0+ / 0-)

            But in actuality, individual people planting them isn't going to get it done.

            What we have to do is to stop burning 350 million-year-old trees. How long does it take even a fast-growing tree to sequester (temporarily) the CO2 resulting from burning a ton of coal?

            Oh, BTW, I can't stand beer. Can we discuss this over a bottle of burgundy?

            Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

            by Tim DeLaney on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:14:38 PM PDT

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            •  Biomass is tens of tons per acre per year (0+ / 0-)

              And there is plenty of land that is not being used to its full biomass growing potential.

              So to quote Bill McKibben, "do the math".

              Burgundy works.  :-)

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