Thursday, 19 February 2009

Forests for climate proofing

Published in Am Bratach Magazine


It's a strange argument against global warming to suggest [Am Bratach Jan 09] , on the evidence of US scientists that no forest plantings should be done north of 50 degrees N, i.e. north of The Lizard in Cornwall. Clearly they don't understand a temperate maritime climate such as we have where the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift warm the seas around Scotland and on round Norway to Murmansk. I live in Easter Ross north of Moscow, Russia, should they cut down all the trees on Fyrish - Norse for pine or fir hill?

We have always had woods in high latitudes. Look at the range of Scots pine and birch over Eurasia. Is the Climate Change Bill is to ignore the role of forests in capturing CO2 in Scotland? If so, the North Sutherland Community Forest trust is wrong, the Assynt Crofters is wrong and we should cut down all the trees in Norway to allow the lighter shades of land with winter snows to refract back more of the sun's rays into space to keep the planet's temperature down.

The albedo effect is well known, but it should not deter Scots from seeing the Forestry Commission lands as a possible contributor to mitigate climate change. We also need timber for eco-friendly housing and fuel. So the more we develop woods as there used to be in the North West before over grazing, the better.

The Climate Change Bill has started its Scottish Parliamentary passage. I hope NW Sutherland gains the benefit of sound science to regenerate our woodland cover in a sustainable fashion as part of its work.


Rob Gibson SNP MSP
Highlands and Islands,
4 Grant St. Wick

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