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Logging industry targeted B.C. old-growth forests for more than a century, SFU study finds

Logging industry targeted B.C. old-growth forests for more than a century, SFU study finds

Ken Lertzman’s paper shows between 1860 and 2016, 87 per cent of logging took place in old-growth forests

A man in a raincoat walks past a giant tree in a forest.
A man walks past an old growth tree in Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew, B.C. A new paper published by Simon Fraser University professor Ken Lertzman shows that decades of logging on the province’s Central Coast targeted the highest-value forests first. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The worsening effects of climate change are compounding the historical loss of British Columbia’s old-growth forests, says the co-author of a new paper that shows decades of logging on the province’s Central Coast targeted the highest-value forests first.

“History tells us that we have really depleted these high-value elements of the landscape and that we can’t keep going,” said Ken Lertzman, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University’s school of resource and environmental management.

“At the same time, [forests] have never been under greater threat from natural disturbances that are driven by a changing climate.”

Some forests have been set aside for logging because of their ecological and cultural value, only to be scorched by increasingly severe wildfires, he added.

That’s the reality today’s policy-making must reflect when it comes to determining how B.C.’s forests will be valued and used in years to come, Lertzman said.

Vital old growth first to be cut

The paper published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined more than 150 years of logging across 8,550 square kilometres of forests around Bella Bella on B.C.’s Central Coast.

Of nearly 570 square kilometres logged in the area between 1860 and 2016, 87 per cent of that logging took place in old-growth forests starting in 1970, it shows.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Asymmetry in carbon dioxide emissions and removals could skew climate targets: research

Asymmetry in carbon dioxide emissions and removals could skew climate targets: research

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Changes in climate resulting from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere are not equal to the climate changes from deliberate CO2 removals—and assuming such a balance could lead to different climate outcomes that may skew climate targets, according to new Simon Fraser University-led research.

“Because of the complexity of the Earth’s system, things are not as simple as “one ton of CO2 in, equals one ton of CO2 out,” says Kirsten Zickfeld, a distinguished professor of climate science in SFU’s Department of Geography, and lead author of a new paper published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. “CO2 emissions are more effective at raising atmospheric CO2 concentration than CO2 removals are at lowering it.”

According to Zickfeld, this “asymmetry” implies that a larger amount of CO2 removal is required to compensate for a given amount of CO2 emissions if the atmospheric CO2 concentration is to remain unchanged.

Researchers used a series of climate model simulations to test whether the change in climate resulting from CO2 emissions and removals is asymmetric. Their results showed that the rise in the atmospheric CO2 concentration following an  is larger than the decline following a removal of the same magnitude.

Findings of the study infer that balancing a given amount of CO2 emissions with an equal amount of CO2 removals could lead to a different climate outcome than avoiding the CO2 emissions.

“Our study suggests that assuming exact balance between CO2 emissions and an equal amount of CO2 removals in a net-zero framework risks blowing climate targets,” she says.

While Zickfeld says that balancing emissions with CO2 removals of the same magnitude could lead to different  outcomes, further study is needed to learn more about the extent of this effect.


There Are 66,719 Empty Mansions In Vancouver

There Are 66,719 Empty Mansions In Vancouver

One year ago, when we first started discussing the Vancouver housing bubble, which as we first speculated – and was later confirmed – was the result of Chinese oligarch money-launderers parking “hot cash” in this offshore housing market (at least until a 15% property tax on foreign purchases made Seattle the new Vancouver), we said that Vancouver houses had become the de facto new Swiss bank account, and because of that the houses – once purchased – would remain a highly overprized, if vacant tribute to China’s soaring capital outflows.

Now, courtesy of data by urban planner Andy Yan of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, this has been confirmed because according to the latest census numbers, as of 2016 there were 25,502 unoccupied or empty housing units in the City of Vancouver. Expanding to include the entire metro area, Yan found that vacant or temporarily occupied dwellings have more than doubled since 2001 to 66,719 last year as neighborhoods have hollowed out.

A home sits empty, and awaiting demolition, at the corner of Parker Street 

and Victoria Drive in Vancouver on Wednesday

Yan compared census data for Vancouver over several decades to see how the percentage of “unoccupied” units or ones “occupied solely by foreign residents and/or temporary present residents on Census Day” has doubled during that time the Vancouver Sun reported. In 1986, it was 4%. By 2016, it had doubled to 8.2%.

“Exact definitions and measures have changed slightly over 30 years and patterns should be interpreted as directional,” Yan writes in a report released Wednesday.

The number of Vancouver’s prized, if vacant, mansions far outstrips other municipalities with 25,502 units that are either unoccupied or owned by temporary or foreign residents.

Yan said most of these were concentrated in three areas: Coal Harbour, Marine Gateway and Joyce-Collingwood. Surrey came in second at 11,195, Burnaby at 5,829 and Richmond at 4,021.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Canada Is Endangering Its Natural Wealth

How Canada Is Endangering Its Natural Wealth

Impaired ecosystems leave Canada at an economic disadvantage. A Tyee Solutions excerpt.

It’s an old economic truism that scarcity creates value. In an era when natural capital is disappearing around the globe, it’s also increasingly highly valued. Beyond degrading biological, intrinsic and cultural values, Canada’s ineffective stewardshipof our ecosystems puts at risk billions, potentially trillions of dollars worth of wealth.

As long ago as 1996, Simon Fraser University economist Nancy Olewiler estimated that British Columbia received $2.75 billiona year (adjusted for inflation to 2014) in non-lumber value from its pre-pine-beetled forests, mainly from outdoor recreation, but also from wildlife viewing and recreational fishing and hunting.

More recently, economists have estimated that the ecological services provided by the Mackenzie River watershed in northern Canada are worth some $571 billion a year —thirteen and a half times the region’s official GDP of $42 billion. In 2014 an unknown portion of that wealth went up in smoke when fires consumed vast swaths of boreal forest in the Northwest Territories.

Canadians feared for their natural security, as long ago as 1989 when eight in ten of us agreed at least somewhat in surveys that pollution “threatens the survival of the human race.” The extent of that threat is now much clearer. So is how much we stand to lose.

Wherever economists look, they find that nature’s contribution to Canada’s wealth exceeds what appears in conventional accounts. The value of climate-threatening carbon stored in Manitoba’s 50 million hectares of boreal forest, for example, was assessed last year at $117 billion — 10 times the province’s full budget — not counting recreation, hunting, and other economic contributions.

Toronto’s trees were revealed in a different study to be worth more than $80 million annually, in services that run from energy-saving shade to scrubbing pollutants from the air; that amount was more than the city spent in 2014 on economic development and recreation. The asset value of the urban forest was assessed at $7 billion.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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