Canada's managed forests have turned into super-emitters, and 2018 set a record

By Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, June 5, 2020

Death and decay are winning in Canada's vast managed forest lands. And this victory is unleashing a rising flood of climate pollution. Put simply, our forests are dying and being cut down faster than they can grow back.

In 2018, the flood of CO2 pouring out of them reached record levels, at nearly a quarter billion tonnes of CO2 in a single year. That's more than Canada's once biggest climate pollution source — the oil and gas sector — emitted that year.

Sadly, this isn't a short-term aberration. The long-term trends are relentlessly grim. They show that our forests switched from much-needed CO2 sinks into dangerous CO2 emitters more than a decade ago. And what started as a trickle has grown into a flood of CO2 pouring into our atmosphere.

(...)If there is more growth than decay, the forests are net CO2 absorbers ("carbon sinks"). If decay wins out, the forests emit CO2 ("carbon sources").

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