To request government to promote use of timber instead of substituting it to fight Global warming sign now

To request government to promote use of timber instead of substituting it to fight Global warming.
It is heartening to know that various governments are waking up to combat the global warming but unfortunately the steps taken are more cosmetic and populist in nature than really well thought.
1. Combating global warming has broadly two components:
a. Decreasing the release of green house gases and,
b. Sequestering the green house gases, of which CO2 is the component, from atmosphere.
2. Battle has to be fought on both the fronts but it is found that emphasis is only on the former. There is not sufficient emphasis on the later. It must be understood that even with best efforts we can only reduce the emission of greenhouse gas but we cannot eliminate it altogether. So the amount of green house gases in the atmosphere will only increase with time. Hence we need to concentrate on sequestering the green house gases also.
3. When it comes to sequestering CO2 there is nothing on the planet, it is repeated nothing, except a growing plant that can do it. The fact that one and only way to sequestrate CO2 is through a growing plant, is a very important fact that must be understood if we want to fight global warming in a realistic way.
4. It is a well known fact that a plant purifies environment but we need to understand how after all a plant does purifies environment. And is there any way to quantify the amount of purification done by various plants?
5. There is nothing magical or unknown about the process. The process which purifies the environment is a well known process ie photosynthesis and there is an unambiguous way to measure the amount of purification done by a plant. Photosynthesis is natural processes that uses CO2, releases O2 and produces various forms of sugar ie C6H12O6. The chemical reaction is 6CO2+ 6H2O --> C6H12O6 + 6O2.
6. The amount of carbon sequestered by a plant can actually be measured fairly well as explained below.
a. The byproduct of the photosynthesis is cellulose or C6H12O6 or wood. Hence the physical manifestation of the photosynthesis is the increase in volume and weight of the plant.
b. It is possible ie the rate of sequestration of CO2 may differ from plant to plant ,which is also evident from that fact that different tree/plants grow at different rates , but the sum total of the CO2 sequestered has to be proportional to dry biomass ie the biomass from which the water has been removed.
c. In fact empirically it can be said that for every 180 tons of dry wood produced, 264 tons of CO2 is consumed and 192 tons of O2 is given out.
d. In broader terms there is a direct correlation between the amount of CO2 sequestered and O2 produced with the amount of biomass produced.
7. Not so evident but another important contribution of a growing tree is that apart from conversion of CO2 to O2 a growing plant also absorbs heat. This is nothing but the sunlight that would have otherwise converted into heat had it not been used for photosynthesis. This is why we feel cooler under a tree. So a tree also helps the global warming by storing heat which otherwise would have added to global temperature.
8. Above stated facts can be understood by the reverse logic like as follows. Suppose we cut a tree and burn it. We get mainly two things: CO2 and heat. By simple logic of conservation of energy and chemical constituents it can be safely assumed that this was the amount of heat and CO2 absorbed by the plant while growing.
9. Now the issue comes that if photosynthesis is the key to carbon sequestration then why emphasis on tree only as every plant does photosynthesis. Here it is important to understand that though there are various forms of C6H12O6 like sugar, cellulose, carbohydrate etc but cellulose (timber) is the only way CO2 remains blocked for a longer period of 5-200 years. In all other forms either it is burnt, consumed or decomposed within a year or so releasing the entire CO2. Hence, though even the smaller plants can sequester CO2 but the form in which they do, cannot store the CO2 for a period of longer than 2-5 years.
10. It is also important to understand that the popular perception that substituting timber wood with other materials like plastic, steel etc is good for environment, as by using them we save trees from being cut, is not correct. Logic tells the contrary. Logic says that while any wood item would keep some CO2 blocked inside it, any substitute of it would definitely produce some CO2 during its production. So no amount of wood substitution would actually block CO2. It would only produce more CO2.
11. The logical reasoning and popular perception are diametrically opposite because of wrong perception that trees keep on growing indefinitely. This is somewhat different. Truth is that a tree does not grow indefinitely. After some time the rate of growth slows and ultimately virtually stops. If a tree is sequestering CO2 it would definitely show as an increase in the volume of the tree. Otherwise where is that CO2 going? So ,such a fully grown tree which is not growing in volume may remain green and may be good for wild life but is doing no good to the environment as the sum total of CO2 taken in and given out (in the process of respiration) almost balances each other. That is the time it should rather be removed and used as timber and make way for new plantations.
12. Accordingly I request that the government to frame policies and action plan to combat global warming considering following:
a. Since there is nothing on the planet other than a growing tree that can reduce CO2 so tree planting has to central to be any program of combating global warming.
b. For long term it is much more beneficial to promote use of timer use rather than substituting as it is the only meaningful way to store CO2. By promoting timber use we will block more CO2 than otherwise. Further increased market for timber would allure people to produce more timber. Rather to make it a viable economic activity without any risk government should specify some Minimum Support Price for selected timber species.
c. The wood substitution should be done for fuel-wood not for timber.
d. Fuel-wood use should be discouraged as there are efficient ways of cooking food. The non use of fuel wood would lead to more decomposition of wood thereby increasing the humus content in the soil and thereby increasing productivity of soil.
e. Plywood industry needs to be promoted in big way as it helps in using even the inferior quality of wood to be used as timber which otherwise would have been used as fuel-wood there by blocking more CO2. Similarly seasoning and treating wood should also be promoted as it increases the life of timber.
f. Governments should not be swayed by public sentiments to promulgate blanket ban on green felling. They should try to educate a person that felling of mature tree, using it as timber (not fuel-wood) and planting new trees is the indeed better for environment.
g. Such a strategy is not being suggested for existing forest area in to-to as even standing tree keep the CO2 blocked. In addition they support the invaluable flora and fauna and have other beneficial effects on environment like increasing precipitation, decreasing soil run off etc. So for forest area such a strategy should be taken with modifications case to case basis.
h. But the strategy can be definitely taken for promoting social forestry outside forest area in a big. In fact more than 76\% of the land area is outside forest and most of it is much more productive than any forest area. By promoting use of timber and assuring market by minimum support price government can promote raising of timber trees and optimally utilize these areas to fight global warming.

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Susan SolisBy:
Petition target:
Government of India


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