Low-Carbon Technologies: Land Use and Forestry Across All Regions

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Afforestation is not more cost effective than reducing fossil fuel use by using biomass from short-rotation woody crops at reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, unless the growth rates of trees in afforested/reforested lands could be increased to SRWP levels.  Forest conservation activities, particularly in the tropics, offer significant potential for mitigating carbon emissions.  This is partially because biophysical factors, such as reflectivity, evaporation, and surface roughness, help with temperature reduction in tropical areas, but not in boreal or other snow-covered regions, where darker trees trap more heat than snow does. Larger forest size and greater rule-making autonomy yield greater carbon storage and livelihood benefits.

Carbon sequestration through forest activities can make a significant contribution to controlling the rise in CO2 emissions, with one estimate of around 1/3 of total carbon abatement; however, it is only a component of the overall mitigation strategy.  Opportunity cost of land usage poses a problem; with the growth of the world’s population, more land might be necessary for agricultural production.