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Tasmania has made history by becoming one of the first parts of the world to become carbon neutral by reducing logging.
According to researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) and Griffith University, the reduction of carbon emissions is due to the state’s ‘responsible forest management’ enforced in 2011 and 2012.
Griffith University researcher Brendan Mackey wrote in Environmental Research Letters: "Tasmania has gone from being the emitter of carbon dioxide to now removing more than it is emitting to the atmosphere.
"The mitigation benefit is about 22 million tons of carbon dioxide a year."
Mackey pointed out that if other countries and states emulated Tasmania’s forest logging plan, it would help global warming while honouring the Paris Agreement.
“As our paper reports, a significant source of emissions is from deforestation and degradation due to logging native forest,” he said.
Tasmanian Forest Products Association chief executive Nick Steel told ABC News that the state becoming carbon negative was primarily due to their ‘balance of plantations’ and how every tree cut down is replanted or reharvested.
ANU Professor David Lindenmayer also noted that the achievement was a milestone as rarely do places aim to be ‘carbon negative’ but rather ‘carbon neutral’.
He said: "This is one of the first times on the planet that anybody has ever done this kind of reversal.
“There has been a massive change in the state’s carbon accounts. Tasmania has gone from being a net emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to now removing more than it is emitting to the atmosphere. Tasmania’s net emissions are now in the negative.
“It shows us that change in forest management can have a remarkable impact on climate change. In this case you can pin point the change since the decommissioning of wood chipping and paper pulp exports from Tasmania.”
While it remains unknown if other Australian states will follow Tasmania’s reduction of logging, Professor Mackey said carbon emission cuts were ‘vital’ in the next ten years.
He said: "It is vital we protect and enhance natural forest ecosystem carbon stocks and that the mitigation benefits of forest protection are properly accounted for and reported to help us achieve the deep and rapid cuts in emissions needed over the coming critical decade."
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