It’s time to protect our Natural Ecosystem Carbon Sinks
A Forest and Bird Report released in April of this year highlights the impact of introduced feral browsers and states that their control is likely to be one of the most significant and cost-effective options for protecting and enhancing the country’s massive stores of natural carbon.
Throughout Aotearoa, native ecosystems (native forests, shrubland, and tussockland) holds around 1,450 million tonnes of carbon, 74% of which is stored in native forests. Our largest forest type is presently bleeding 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
The report estimates that the equivalent of nearly 15% of New Zealand’s 2018 net greenhouse gas emissions per year — 8.4 million tonnes of CO2 — could be locked into native ecosystem carbon sinks if we controlled feral browsing animals to the lowest possible levels. Action needs to be taken to protect these valuable natural carbon sinks. This needs to be over and above New Zealand’s climate commitments to help keep warming below 1.5 degrees. This action could also help make Aotearoa carbon-positive within a few decades.
You can access the summary and full reports from this link to Forest and Bird.