[permaculture] Agricultural Deforestation and Global Warming

Laurence Gaffney lgaffney at bigpond.com
Tue Jun 5 20:26:38 EDT 2007

Yet the recent 2007 FAO (UN) State of the World's Forests 2007 report indicates that their is still a net loss of 17 Million Acres of Forest world wide Annually.This translates to an Area Twice the size of Paris every day apparently.
And I would assume these numbers probably treat plantation timber "forests" as equivalent to "natural" forest.

I have found it difficult to establish just how much Forest has been removed both since agriculture (8000 yrs)and since the industrial revolution. Can anyone help here?.

I have read that the current Deforestation contributes to around 20% of Global Carbon Emissions. Can any one confirm that? 

Laurence Gaffney  

Message: 1
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2007 14:31:17 -0400
From: lbsaltzman at aol.com
Subject: [permaculture] Farming and global warming
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
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HOW DID HUMANS FIRST ALTER GLOBAL CLIMATE? ,? By: Ruddiman, William E., Scientific American, 00368733, Mar2005, Vol. 292, Issue 3

Database: Academic Search Premier


A bold new hypothesis suggests, that our ancestors" farming practices kicked off global warming thousands of years before we started burning coal and driving cars......................................

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Laurence Gaffney 
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org 
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 10:53 AM
Subject: GLOBAL WARMING:- A different 'take' on it

Thank you Travis
The Ruddiman Paper is the kind of thing I was after.

1.    A quote from the Website of the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology:-
"While it might seem simple to determine cause and effect between carbon dioxide and climate from which change occurs first, or from some other means, the determination of cause and effect remains exceedingly difficult. Furthermore, other changes are involved in the glacial climate, including altered vegetation, land surface characteristics, and ice-sheet extent." 

2.    The Ice Core Data confirms the Link between Temperature Change & CO2. This is not an issue.
But it is fair to say that their is still some discussion as to why historically at least CO2 appears to lag behind temperature. 

3.     A  Theory that proposes that Life on Earth of which Forests are/were a largish subset may have something to do with regulating Global Climate makes this Permaculturalists Antenna stick up. 

Any other contributions relating to the specific theory?

Laurence Gaffney

Message: 6
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 10:00:45 -0400
From: Travis Miller <wyrdbrew at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [permaculture] GLOBAL WARMING:- A different 'take' on it
To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
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I recently read a paper on a theory that anthropogenic warming  
actually started thousands of years ago.  The gist of the paper is  
that anomalous quantities of CH2 and CO2 have been  dated to the  
early part of the holocene period.  The methane increases are along  
the same timeline as the increased use in domesticated ungulates and  
the CO2 increases are on the same timeline as deforestation by humans  
for use as farmland.  The hypothesis is that the domestication of  
animals and clearing of land got the global warming ball rolling and  
extended the cyclical warm period between glaciation and that we'd be  
well into an ice age if it wasn't for human activity.  Essentially,  
agriculture created global warming and industrialization made it more  
severe.  I'm not a climate scientist but the data and the basic  
premise seemed to make sense.

Here is a link to the paper on Stanford's website.


This may have some bearing on discussion of how Permaculture can and  
should be used as part of a mitigation response to climate change.


"It is never to late to be what you might have been."
- George Eliot

Message: 2
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 09:28:12 +1000
From: "Laurence Gaffney" <lgaffney at bigpond.com>
Subject: [permaculture] GLOBAL WARMING:- Is CO2 the Primary Cause?
To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
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Hello All

Over the past couple of months I have come across a different take on the cause of global warming.
Essentially the Theory is that deforestation is destroying the Earths Ability to regulate temperature.

Mollison has long argued that forests have an effect locally on weather (See TREES AND THEIR ENERGY TRANSACTIONS in Chapter 6 of his Permaculture Designers Manual) 
Some of this chapter was sourced I think from the 1983 article titled Forest Weather by Bayard Webster (see Link)

At a Mollison /Lawton Permaculture Design Course in Melbourne Australia (Jan 07) students were referred to the following Article:-

This is not a good article and is wrong in fact in a number of places. It may suffer from poor translation. However it does outline the Theory.

More significant is an article entitled "The Biology of Global Warming and its Profitable Mitigation" published in the SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK UPDATE - No 64E funded by the Australian CSIRO.

This Theory seems to make "Common Sense" to me.

Can anyone out there debunk this Theory for me please?.

Laurence Gaffney

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