Pulp and paper industry and the climate change
Global warming, caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases as a result of human activity, is one of today’s major environmental problems. Scientific studies commissioned by the United Nations (UN) warn that climate change may cause serious environmental, economic and social impacts.
According to scientists, there are two ways to fight global warming: reducing pollution and removing the carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been released into the atmosphere. Planted forests are vital allies of the planet once growing trees removes carbon from the air.
In Brazil, they absorb 1 billion metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year, by the photosynthesis process, offering a expressive contribution on reducing the effects of global warming.
Planted forests are more effective at CO2 sequestration than native forests. Since, on average, eucalyptus cycles last seven years and pinus cycles last 14 years – from planting to harvesting –, the stock of growing trees is kept constant, thanks to new plantings. The younger a plant is, the more energy it needs in order to grow, which leads to greater carbon absorption.
Planted forests are excellent at this job because they are extremely effective at retaining the carbon sinks in the different biomass reservoirs, both in tree trunks, leafs and branches and below the soil surface.
In the tropics, where the supply of light (sunlight) and water (rain) is abundant, there are high rates of conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into biomass – which explains their fast growth. Together with forest management technology, this favours high productivity.
By protecting nearly 7 million acres of natural areas – which is the equivalent of more than half of the total planted area –, the pulp and paper industry conserves an important carbon stock, preventing its release into the atmosphere through deforestation.