Deforestation is responsible for around one fifth of global greenhouse emissions. 

Forests are like a huge machine that constantly cleans the air. The vegetation of a rainforest absorbs tons of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and in turn releases oxygen. Each tree produces an average of 20-30 litres per day, and although this is then absorbed in a budget of substantive equality, it is essential to the lives of millions of beings. In contrast, the destruction of forests, especially through fire (to cleanse the soil), burns oxygen and releases carbon into the atmosphere.

Much rainforest clearance in Indonesia is taking place on peatlands. This yields massive additional carbon emissions as the rich organic peat oxidizes or burns. With the loss of rainforest ecosystems we lose one of the planet’s greatest carbon capture and storage systems and best adaptation mechanisms for global warming (up to 300 tons of carbon per hectare).

 A new report ‘Too Much Hot Air‘, details the shocking climate change impacts of the Indonesian pulp and paper industry through damage to peatlands, and highlights solutions in the form of ‘paludiculture’, with examples of good practice from local communities. The report is a discussion document, and it concludes with questions about we can move to a more sustainable future for Indonesian peatlands.

Forests are part of the Finnish national identity and for excellent reasons. Finland is a ‘forest giant’, with roughly sixteen times more forest per capita on average than other European countries. It is said to have ten trees for every person in the world. Forests are the nation’s ‘green gold’, making Finland a forest-rich country in every sense. This is good for the economy, as well as the climate, as the forests “sequestrate" huge amounts of the carbon.

A growing synchrony has been revealed in ring-width patterns of trees in response to global warming. This study shows the existence of an increase of spatial synchrony of ring width patterns in Spain and Siberia. These findings are a warning of the global warming impact on forest ecosystems at subcontinent scale.

Scientists from the University of Leeds and University College London have discovered the world’s largest tropical peatland in the remote Congo swamps, estimated to store the equivalent of three year’s worth of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions. Researchers mapped the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo basin and found they cover 145,500 sq km – an area larger than England. The swamps could lock in 30bn tonnes of carbon that was previously not known to exist, making the region one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth. 

Indonesia is punishing more than 20 companies in an unprecedented move for starting deadly forest fires that killed 19 people, a government official said Tuesday. The companies - most of them pulp wood plantations operating on concession land in Sumatra and Kalimantan - have had their business licences suspended.  The firms include BMH and SWI, which have concessions in South Sumatra. BMH is a supplier to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in Indonesia. BMH, SWI and APP have the same parent company, the Sinar Mas Group. The suspensions would be lifted if, within the next two years, the companies show that they have made significant progress in efforts to prevent future fires.