Monday, September 2, 2013

If The Pop-environmental Movement Is So Worried About Greenhouse Gasses Why Don't They Talk About Commercial Aviation?

So, Al Gore and his ilk fly all over the world telling us lesser beings we must do more to reduce greenhouse gasses.  A Kennedy flies in to preach environmentalism to us all.  Climate change activists fly all over the world to rant and rave, predicting the end of life a we know it because each of us maintains a too large carbon footprint.  President Obama helicopters out of the White House to board Air Force One to fly one place or another so he can speechify regarding greenhouse gas reductions.

The Advent Of Commercial Aviation Changed Long Distance Travel Forever


Meanwhile, in the real world, consider:

"Aircraft produce up to 4 percent of the annual global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels near the Earth's surface as well as at higher altitudes (25,000 to 50,000 feet). Scientists are still studying the effects of increased amounts of CO2 near the Earth's surface and in the upper atmosphere. 

In 1993, a study of toxic emissions at Chicago's Midway Airport revealed that arriving and departing planes released more pollutants than the industrial pollution sources in the surrounding 16-square-mile area. A more recent study at London's Heathrow airport showed that aircraft contributed between 16 and 35 percent of ground level NOx concentrations."


or:

"The simple answer is that driving in a relatively fuel-efficient car (25-30 miles per gallon) usually generates fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than flying. In assessing the global warming impact of a trip from Philadelphia to Boston (about 300 miles), the environmental news website Grist.org calculates that driving would generate about 104 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2)—a leading greenhouse gas—per typical medium-sized car, regardless of the number of passengers, while flying on a commercial jet would produce some 184 kilograms of CO2 per passenger. "  

or:




Interesting that emissions per passenger mile are better for autos than for aviation…

At any rate, the question could be asked, “Why is the pop-environmental movement so passionate about a variety of greenhouse reduction approaches but, almost nothing is ever heard about the impacts of commercial aviation on the environment?

No!  Are you trying to tell me junkets to environmental conferences, usually held in fun places to visit, are too much fun to risk?  Say it ain’t so!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Basic Pop-Environmental Strategy - To Control People Control Their Water

If you really want to control the everyday lives of people, control their water.
Whatcom County, Washington is an example of how the pop-environmental movement, in an effort to impose its will on the unwashed masses, has seized control of a water rich environment on the basis of (you guessed it), water shortages!

The first pioneer settlements in Whatcom County centered on Whatcom Creek (Supposedly translated as "Noisy Waters") because the falls provided power for sawmills
Once nicknamed “The Fourth Corner” because it is the most northerly of the United State’s West Coast counties, Whatcom County, along with the rest of Western Washington, is world renowned for rain.  As this is being written near the last weekend in June we are seeing our third straight day of rain.  Summer crops are sometimes ruined by rain in June and July though, in general, rainfall does slack off in July and August.  In those months it is not uncommon to go for two or three weeks without rain.
On top of that, literally, is a mountain range beginning its rise only a couple of dozen miles in from the ocean inlet, Puget Sound.  An hour’s drive from the bayside city of Bellingham, a ski resort holding the world’s record for snowfall in a winter season at ninety-five feet contributes to a year around rush of water from mountainside to ocean.
So where’s the water shortage?
The water shortage is in the most important place it can be; in the minds of a cadre of urban centric pop-environmentalists dedicated to forcing Whatcom County’s rural landowners off the land and into high rises located in the city.
So how does one go about creating a water shortage in rivers and streams discharging tens of millions of gallons of water into the ocean each day?
Well, if you want to assure success, you combine two perfectly reasonable concepts, connectivity and minimum instream flows, into a unified water plan and then you use false science to force the drawing of false conclusions.
Fish, especially fish that migrate to the ocean then return to rivers and streams to spawn are important to the people of Whatcom County so measures designed to improve fish runs are easy to promote to an audience largely uninterested in questioning the pronouncements of those purportedly speaking with authority.
Put simplistically and speaking only to the issue of connectivity and minimum instream flows, fish need a certain amount of water flowing down stream and river beds to propagate and send lots of little fish children out to sea.
So, scientists, and others, pay attention to minimum instream flows in developing strategic plans to enhance fish health and survival. 
Many sources contribute to flow volume in rivers and streams.  Water flowing underground is one important source, especially in months where rainfall and/or snow melt are inadequate to maintain healthy levels of flow so, connectivity becomes an issue legitimately open to discussion.
Connectivity is the issue allowing zealots to seize control of the daily lives of individuals owning land throughout a river system.  The claim of connectivity provides control of water withdrawals from wells dug or drilled to provide water for lawns and gardens or for other daily uses.  “After all,” the argument goes, “When a homeowner turns on the faucet to get the water needed to make a cup of tea that homeowner may be harming fish by taking future water away from their poor little gills.”
So, how much water actually is needed in a stream to support a healthy fish population?
In Whatcom County no one quite knows and that’s just the way the pop-environmentalists like things.  It is difficult to create hysteria without a sense of crisis.
Minimum instream flows for Whatcom County were established by state law in the middle 1980s using a curiously odd technique having nothing to do with what fish need to live but, rather, with what the pop environmental movement needs to keep raising funds.
Basically, in Whatcom County, minimum instream flows represent the average flow of water measured month by month the year around.  Using that methodology assures the County’s waters are guaranteed to be out of compliance with the purported needs of fish much of the year.  Average, after all, means that some of the time water levels will be higher than average and some of the time water levels will be lower than average.  Since lower than average flows violate the law the approach assures water shortages and plenty of fodder for those pursuing political ends that can be linked to those purported shortages. 
Think about it.  Based on the averaging technique for calculation of necessary instream flows, pre-settlement streams were unable to support fish populations, by definition.  So, where did all the fish purported to have existed in pre-settlement times come from?

The technique used to measure minimum instream flows, applied to areas with little or no habitation as is the case here still shows violations demonstrating the inaccuracy of the technique
In Whatcom County, violations of minimum instream flows are being used by an urban centric elite to seize control of the ability to drill wells in the county needed by farmers and other landowners wanting to live on, and work, their lands.
If you want to control people, control their water and, to the pop-environmental movement, the ends justifies the means, as is the case in most of the discussions about environmental health going on in the world today.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Destroy The Forest Products Industry And You Help Destroy The Environment

I've been working way too many hours trying to fend off a serious threat to the environment in my own local area.  That led to my being late on this blog.

The threat is called the Lake Whatcom Reconveyance.

Without boring you about local issues, the Reconveyance has world-wide implications.

Ignoring forest health leads to this as illustrated by an 1800s burned off area



In our area, an effort by the pop-environmental movement has been pursued vigorously for several years to convert nearly 9,000 acres of land dedicated to the timber industry into a park. 

The land was dedicated to the timber industry because of a realization by Washington State legislators that an unhealthy timber industry means an unhealthy environment.

This blog has addressed the issue previously.  Consider:

  1. A huge portion of the greenhouse gas emissions released to our atmosphere each year come as the result of forest fires. 
  2. Studies estimate 25% or more of the mercury released to the atmosphere each year comes as the result of forest fires.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070109172159.htm
  3. Out of control forest fires boil out streams killing fish populations, burn habitat used by endangered species and otherwise cause environmental havoc.
  4. And so on...


In the United States particularly, the forest products industry has been devastated by the actions of the pop-environmental movement in recent decades.  As a result, so has the environment.  That is why my own little fight against the Reconveyance in my own local area is a fight to help preserve our environment.

A healthy forest products industry is required to maintain a healthy forest.  If we kill the industry, we help kill the forests.

Too often our reactions to environmental issues are based on emotions rather than science; "Ummm, park good, cut tree bad."  

If this blog does anything at all I hope it helps readers to realize that the discussion of issues about environmental impacts generally involve more complexity than the pop-environmental movements want brought up.  All too often, the real purpose of the discussion is the raising of money rather than the solving of issues and full discussion confuses the donors. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If You Don't Buy Into The Environmental Religion Be Prepared To Pay The Price

The pop-environmental movement is as much a religion as a political persuasion.   One need only look at the following exchange in a newspaper, The Bellingham Herald, for a demonstration of how purported “scientists” are willing to pervert their science in pursuit of their religion.
I actually find some humor in this; when I was young it was considered climate change denial to dispute that North America would be covered by an ice sheet sometime in the near future.  Having run “hot” and “cold” maybe the next heresy will be to oppose the idea that a static, or lukewarm, condition can be achieved. 
Temperature on the hottest day of the year in the U.S. and Canada - 1872

Anyway, read this and weep:
WWU faculty find overwhelming scientific evidence to support global warming
Published: March 31, 2013
By WWU GEOLOGY FACULTY — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
On March 26, 2013, a long-retired faculty member of our department, Don Easterbrook, presented his opinions on human-caused global climate change to the Washington State Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee at the invitation of the committee chair Sen.   Doug Ericksen, R.-Ferndale.   We, the active faculty of the Geology Department at Western Washington University, express our unanimous and significant concerns regarding the views espoused by Easterbrook, who holds a doctorate in geology; they are neither scientifically valid nor supported by the overwhelming preponderance of evidence on the topic.   We also decry the injection of such poor quality science into the public discourse regarding important policy decisions for our state’s future; the chair of the committee was presented with numerous options and opportunities to invite current experts to present the best-available science on this subject, and chose instead to, apparently, appeal to a narrow partisan element with his choice of speaker.
We concur with the vast consensus of the science community that recent global warming is very real, human greenhouse-gas emissions are the primary cause, and their environmental and economic impacts on our society will likely be severe if we don’t make significant efforts to address the problem.   Claims to the contrary fly in the face of an overwhelming body of rigorous scientific literature.
We intend no disrespect to Easterbrook personally.   We appreciate his previous service to our department and to Western.   His present appointment as emeritus professor was made in light of his long-standing history at WWU.   But people of the state of Washington need to understand that Easterbrook’s ideas on anthropogenic global warming have not passed through rigorous peer review in the scientific literature.   Additionally, Easterbrook’s claims in this forum and elsewhere require the existence of a broad, decades-long conspiracy amongst literally thousands of scientists to falsify climate data and to prevent publication of opposing research.   This opinion demonstrates a profound rejection of the scientific process and the fundamental value of rigorous peer review, and is also simply wrong.
Science thrives on controversies; it rewards innovative, unexpected findings, but only when they are backed by rigorous, painstaking evidence and reasoning.   Without such standards, science would be ineffective as a tool to improve our society.   It is worth acknowledging that nearly every technological advance in modern society is a direct result of that same scientific method (think the Internet, airplanes, antibiotics, and even your smartphone).
Easterbrook’s views, as exemplified by his Senate presentation, are a stark contrast to that standard; they are filled with misrepresentations, misuse of data and repeated mixing of local vs.  global records.   Nearly every graphic in the hours-long presentation to the Senate was flawed, as was Easterbrook’s discussion of them.   For example, more than 100 years of research in physics, chemistry, atmospheric science and oceanography has, via experiments, numerous physical observations and theoretic calculations, clearly demonstrate – and have communicated via the scientific literature – that carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas; its presence and variations in Earth’s atmosphere have significant and measureable impacts on the surface temperature of our planet.   Alternatively, you can take Easterbrook’s word – not supported by any published science – that the concentration and effects of carbon dioxide are so small as to not matter a bit.
In a specific example, Easterbrook referred to a graph of temperatures from an ice core of the Greenland ice sheet to claim that global temperatures were warmer than present over most of the last 10,000 years.   First, this record is of temperature from a single spot on Earth, central Greenland (thus it is not a “global record”).   Second, and perhaps more importantly, Easterbrook’s definition of “present temperature” in the graph is based on the most recent data point in that record, which is actually 1855, more than 150 years ago when the world was still in the depths of the Little Ice Age, and well before any hint of human-caused climate change.
As the active faculty of the Western Washington University Geology Department that he lists as his affiliation, we conclude that Easterbrook’s presentation clearly does not represent the best-available science on this subject, and urge the Senate, our state government, and the citizens of Washington State to rely on rigorous peer-reviewed science rather than conspiracy-based ideas to steer their decisions on matters concerning our environment and economic future
At least Don Easterbrook has the guts to stand up to the new religion!

Temperatures on the coldest day of the year in the U.S. and Canada - 1872
Easterbrook disputes WWU faculty global warming opinions 
By DON EASTERBROOK — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
"WWU faculty find overwhelming scientific evidence to support global warming."  Of course there is overwhelming evidence of global warming! Everyone agrees! But that doesn't prove it was caused by carbon dioxide! The authors fail to understand: Of the two periods of global warming this century, the first, and warmest, occurred before rise in carbon dioxide; Twenty periods of global warming occurred over the past five centuries; The past 10,000 years were warmer than present; Multiple periods of intense warming (20 times more intense than recent warming) occurred 10,000-to-15,000 years ago.   All of these happened long before rise in carbon dioxide, so could not possibly have been caused by carbon dioxide.   The Bellingham Herald opinion column is a diatribe against me personally (just read the slurs and innuendos) containing misrepresentations, no real data to support their contentions, and displays an abysmal ignorance of published literature.   The reason becomes apparent when you realize that not a single one of the 13 Western Washington University authors has ever published a single paper on global climate change and none have any expertise whatsoever in climate issues.   Their claim that my publications "have not passed through rigorous peer review" is false.   Virtually all of my 180 publications were peer-reviewed.   The real joke here is they "fully support the 2007 IPCC report," but Donna Laframboise in 2011 documented that 30 percent of the references used were not peer-reviewed, so using their own standard, they would be forced to reject the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report!  The authors claim that "CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas" that has "significant and measureable impact on surface temperature." Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it has little impact on temperature because it makes up only 0.038 percent of the atmosphere, has changed only 0.008 percent since carbon dioxide rose after 1945 (if you double nothing, you still have nothing), and accounts for only 3.6 percent of greenhouse warming.   Carbon dioxide is incapable of changing global temperature by more than a fraction of a degree.   The authors "decry the injection of such poor quality science into the public discourse." I work with 20 of the world's top scientists, including atmospheric physicists, astrophysicists, geologists, and marine geophysicists who wouldn't waste time working with me if my research was "of poor quality." The authors claim that my work requires "broad, decades-long conspiracy ....to falsify climate data."In 1999, NASA data showed the 1930s were the hottest decade of the century and 1936 the hottest year.   In 2012, NASA subtracted temperatures from the 1930s data and added to recent temperatures to claim that recent years were "unprecedented and the warmest ever recorded." Check NASA data tampering at http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/data-tampering-at-ushcngiss/.   This lies behind all of the false claims that recent global warming is "unprecedented."The authors claim a "vast consensus of the science community." However, 31,487 U.S.   scientists (including 9,000 with doctorates) with degrees in atmospheric, Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science have signed a statement that reads: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." Check names and expertise at http://www.petitionproject.org/.   Signatures of 1.5 million scientists would be required to achieve the claimed "vast consensus" of scientists! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman admitted that 80 percent of the people involved in the panel were not even scientists! The WWU faculty was challenged to debate the issues.   The response from David Hirsh was: "I don't want the media to present both sides of an issue." "Well, the problem is it's not 'my' science.   I do not now, nor have I claimed to be an expert in climate science.   The question was would I support a debate-type forum to be hosted at WWU? I would not." He went on to say that he didn't want to debate because he had not addressed any of the scientific issues, but supported the personal attack.   So what can we conclude about The Bellingham Herald opinion column? Perhaps more than anything it shows that amateurs with no expertise in climate issues are way out of their league and would be wiser to stick to their own areas of expertise, hard rock geology.   In the end, nature will tell us who is right and that is happening right now as the climate continues to cool with no warming in 15 years.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Natural control of insect pests

One of the things I do to put food on the table, both figuratively and literally, is write for a great magazine called Growing. 
An article in a recent issue of the magazine deals with an issue of profound environmental significance.  Controlling insect pests, unwanted weeds and pathogens by natural means should be the first line of defense, worldwide, against the predations of those organisms preying on the foodstuffs we all need for survival. 
While the pop-environmental movement gets silly regarding the use of chemicals to control pests – mass starvation would accompany the banning of chemicals just as mass deaths as the result of banning DDT occurred in the 20th Century – the overuse or unnecessary use of chemicals leads to serious consequences.
At any rate, the following is the first part of the article now available at Growing Magazine.  The entire piece is available at:  http://www.growingmagazine.com/article-9288.aspx
Insects found and recorded in the 1850s during the exploration of the American West.  Some are beneficial, some are not.  Overuse of chemicals can impact both good and bad bugs


Biological control of weeds, plant diseases and insect pests, according to Tony Shelton, Professor of Entomology at Cornell University in New York State, is defined as the use of predators, parasitoids or pathogens to reduce pest populations.  Such agents are commonly called natural enemies.  On the farms and in the forests and grasslands of America today, Dr. Shelton says, “While biological control will not solve all our pest problems, it should be a recognized component of any integrated pest management program.”  Especially regarding farms, Dr. Shelton continues, “Both small and large scale farms can use biological control to reduce traditional pesticides inputs and make the systems more sustainable and less likely to experience pest outbreaks.” 
Why Biological Control?
Some hear a term like “biological control” and automatically dismiss the concept as representing exotic, and narrowly applicable approaches to controlling plant and insect pest populations on farms.  In fact, biological control has been a part of agriculture since the beginning of recorded time.  Advanced biological control using techniques made available by modern science have seen increasing importance in America, and elsewhere, for as much as a hundred years.  A 2008 paper by Dr. Shelton discusses a natural bacterium commonly called Bt, a biological control important to the nation’s corn and cotton industries.  “Bt,” Dr. Shelton wrote, is, “One of agriculture’s best defenses against plant-eating insects…(Bt) can be sprayed on the surfaces of crops to provide temporary protection or can be genetically engineered into the crops to protect against insects throughout the lifespan of the plants. Bt has allowed growers to avoid applying large quantities of much “harder” insecticides.”    
Biological control technologies are also seeing increasing importance as the move to organic farming gains momentum but, beyond organic farms, Dr. Shelton puts forward, “Biological control is an essential component in all cropping systems in use today, but is more effective in some than others.  It is most effective in perennial systems like citrus and forests and in greenhouses, but natural enemies help suppress pest populations in virtually all systems.”
The natural enemies Shelton speaks of include predators, like lady bugs (lady beetles), who consume other insects over their lifetimes, parasitoids, species like some wasps that in an immature stage develop on or inside an insect host and, pathogens, disease causing organisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Biological Control as part of an integrated pest management system
In promoting biological control of the various pests bedeviling farmers and foresters Dr. Shelton is not suggesting the adoption of a wholesale switch to biological control.  He is promoting the idea that biological control is a pest reduction strategy capable of enhancing the effectiveness of other approaches, reducing the negative aspects of a pest control regimen based strictly on chemicals and, important to any agriculturalist, improving profitability.
According to Dr. Shelton, effective management of insect pests rarely relies on a single control practice.  Instead, a variety of tactics can be used as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) system to attack the problem of pests preying on valuable crops.  “The goal of IPM is not to eliminate all pests,” Dr. Shelton continues.  “Some pests are tolerable and essential so that their natural enemies remain in the crop. Rather, the aim is to reduce pest populations to less than damaging numbers. The control tactics used in IPM include pest resistant or tolerant plants, and cultural, physical, mechanical, biological, and chemical control. Applying multiple control tactics minimizes the chance that insects will adapt to any one tactic.”
Approaches to biological control of pests, insect and plant generally fall into one of three categories with considerable overlap at the boundaries of the techniques: conservation, classical biological control and augmentation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Phony Fish Discussion

Years ago fish stories were legendarily told by fishermen and women as exaggerations regarding the size of the fish they’d caught.

Must be a wild and natural fish... It's got all its fins
Today, fish stories are mostly told by wide eyed pop environmentalists about how “wild” and natural the salmon are in the rivers and streams those salmon return to when it is time to spawn.
Fish are profitable for pop-environmental groups because raising alarms about fish allows control of the waters the fish live in.  Control of the water allows control of the land surrounding the water meaning a successful campaign to “save the fish” can give even a small group intimate control over much of the population in an entire region.  To an activist group it doesn’t get much better; control and a great money raising opportunity.
Billions of dollars have been spent and untold restrictions have been placed on farmers, cities, residential land owners and others to achieve increases in “wild” salmon runs across North America and in other areas of the world.
The result is a fiction no one seems to want to address – there are no “pure” salmon genetically and, there never have been.
The fact of the matter is not all salmon go back to their river or stream of origin to spawn.  Known as “strays” a certain percentage of the fish enter waters other than their birth waters when they come “home.”  That’s fortunate because absent strays, many of the world’s great salmon rivers would have no fish at all.  It also means the genetics of the stray are introduced into the local population of fish.
An example is the Columbia River.  A few thousand years ago great floods scoured most of the entire Columbia system clean from Montana to the mouth of the river.  Today, fish live in much of the system, a tribute to the ability of a fish population to rebound.
Similarly, in the Skagit River system on Puget Sound volcanic eruptions destroyed some fish populations in the mid-1800s.  Today, fish flourish in the Skagit system.
On top of that, fish hatcheries have been used for a hundred years and more to help fish populations survive.
That brings up another fiction beloved of the pop-environmental movement, especially at fund raising time; “Wild fish,” the movements proclaim, “Are superior to hatchery grown fish which simply dilute the genetics of the population.”
The problem is, after more than a hundred years of hatchery production melding with “natural” populations, there cannot be genetically “pure” fish populations remaining anywhere hatchery fish have been introduced into. 
The lack of logic in the discussion is almost amusing.  When the little hatchery fish are released a fin is clipped to identify them.  Like the mark of Cain the fish instantly becomes an inferior species; but, when two of the inferior fish return to a river and spawn they, by a miracle considered by the pop-environmental movement to be druid’s equivalent to the virgin birth, produce wild and pure fish as offspring  because there is no one around to clip their little fins.
Aside from the fact that the discussion regarding “wild” and tame salmon is mostly fish story and not particularly about science, the whole approach to salmon, and other species, holds the potential to perpetuate a horrible problem that has plagued mankind from the beginning of time; the idea that one species or subspecies is superior to another simply because of genetic origin.
If we perpetuate the myth of the superiority of one species over another when it comes to fish or any other animal, don’t we perpetuate the myth that one species of humans might be superior to another?
Do we really want to do that?

Friday, February 15, 2013

An Easy And Profitable Way To Reduce Greenhouse Gasses

The article following appeared in one of the world's major forest products industry magazines last year.  Headquartered in India, Wood News serves an area containing about half the world's population.  It was an honor to have them publish one of my articles.
Thin kerf sawmilling has been addressed on this blog before but, it is worth addressing again because using a thinner sawblade to mill lumber from a log can lead to 30% more lumber out of a log meaning 30% more carbon is locked up for decades, or even centuries.
Thin kerf sawmilling is also one of the world's best examples of how a very simple technology, mostly operated by everyday working people, can make a huge environmental difference, support sustainability, and enhance local economies.
Anyone purchasing lumber not sawn on a thin kerf sawmill, if the thin kerf is available ( most commonly search for portable sawmills) is contributing to encreased carbon releases to the atmosphere.
Very thin kerf means more lumber and that means less harvest
And so, the article:
THIN KERF SAWMILLING CAN DRIVE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENHANCEMENTS
Growing awareness of the important part a strong forest products industry plays in assuring individuals, companies, communities and nations can achieve healthy forest, climate change and economic goals has begun to impact policy decisions by local, regional and national governments around the world.  In India, the importance of the industry in achieving environmental and economic goals comes because growing and healthy forests scrub carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it (store carbon in isolation) until the wood deteriorates.  When trees are converted to lumber, the carbon remains sequestered, often for decades or even for hundreds of years.  Also important, recent advances in processing technology have brought huge improvements in the amount of lumber recovered from the resource as well as dramatically reduced equipment costs.  More recovery and reduced equipment cost is key to the growth of the industry both in terms of competitiveness and, in terms of entry costs, especially in disadvantaged areas. 
Carbon Sequestration
The growing awareness of the part the forest products industry can play in environmental enhancement was highlighted recently (2011) when U. S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his agency would begin to promote wood “…as a primary building material in green building.” 
The basis of Vilsack’s decision was a U. S. Forest Service Study, Science Supporting the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Using Wood and Wood Products in Green Building Construction.  The study includes an extensive review of the scientific literature on wood as a construction material.  The review led to a conclusion that using wood in building products yields fewer greenhouse gases than the use of other common building materials does.  “This study confirms what many environmental scientists have been saying for years,” Vilsack said.  “Wood should be a major component of American building and energy design.”
From the perspective of a researcher producing the study, David Cleaves, U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Advisor said, “The argument that somehow non-wood construction materials are ultimately better for carbon emissions than wood products is not supported by our research.  Trees removed in an environmentally responsible way allow forests to continue to sequester carbon through new forest growth.  Wood products continue to benefit the environment by storing carbon long after the building has been constructed.”
India’s  Potential For Increasing Carbon Sequestration
The carbon sequestration potential of a healthy forest is considerable and the findings of U.S. studies are as relevant to India as they are elsewhere.  Addressing just one sector of the forest landscape, a 2007 United Nations analysis of India’s forests commented, “Policies that promote agroforestry will help to increase the carbon density of sites relative to traditional agriculture, thereby providing climate change mitigation benefits. Carbon sequestration in Indian agroforests varies from 19.56 tonnes of carbon/hectare/year in Uttar Pradesh to a carbon pool of 23.46 to 47.36 tonnes carbon/hectare/year above- and belowground in the tree-bearing arid agro-ecosystems of Rajasthan. The average sequestration potential in agroforestry has been estimated to be 25 tonnes carbon/hectare/year over 96 million hectares of land in India.”
Agroforestry can be defined as being everything from plantation forests to approaches designed to grow trees and other crops simultaneously on the same land with the two interspersed.  A healthy forest products industry is required to realize, and even enhance, sequestration through agroforestry.   If trees are grown as a crop, a market for the crop must exist to assure an incentive for the growing of the crop.  The highest and best use for logs, as well as the most profitable, is processing of the fiber into salable products.  Nevertheless,  much of the wood  harvested in India is underutilized.  The United Nations analysis estimates 85% of the  roundwood grown in India is consumed as fuel.  At the same time the analysis points to a supply shortage in the country, a clear indication that considerable room for industry growth exists in the nation. 
New Technologies Reduce Costs, Reduce The Need For Imports And Increase Carbon Sequestration
New technologies have greatly improved the ability of the Indian forest product industry to seize the opportunity a supply shortage represents.  In particular, the rise of thin kerf band sawmills as an important part of the industry creates opportunity across the broad spectrum of the industry.
Kerf is the thickness of the cut a blade makes when processing a log.  A comparatively  thick blade like that utilized in conventional sawmills can operate at speed but, considerably more log is turned into sawdust compared to the thin kerf band mill.  Improvements in blade technology by the manufacturers of thin kerf sawmills have allowed for mills capable of industrial levels of production even as yield from a set amount of fiber is increased by as much as 30% when compared to traditional technologies.
First introduced to the broader marketplace by Wood-Mizer Products, Incorporated of Indianapolis, Indiana nearly thirty years ago, the thin kerf portable sawmill and, more recently, industrial versions of the mill have revolutionized the industry.  Today, according to Wood-Mizer, more than 50,000 of their mills are in operation world-wide as are thousands of additional mills manufactured by companies competing with Wood-Mizer.
The efficiency and environmental benefits thin-kerf sawmilling provide was pointed to in a U.S. Forest Service study some years ago.  According to the author, “The US annual cut of timber for lumber products is equivalent to approximately 240 million trees. However, if our sawmills operated at a 70% recovery efficiency, we could get our annual harvest of lumber from 171 million trees. Thus, we could save the equivalent of 69 million trees annually if our recovery efficiency improved from 50% to 70% in our primary processing industry. In addition, these same 69 million trees, if permitted to grow in the forest, would continue to absorb about 900,000 tons of carbon dioxide and produce about 650,000 tons of oxygen each year.”
Increasing use of thin kerf technology will positively impact the Indian forest products industry in four significant ways.  They include:
Environmental Enhancements Through Increased Carbon Sequestration
A 2002 article in the Forest Products Journal, a science oriented publication, cited studies on Russian sawmills concluding, “Through milling improvements that increase the sawmill lumber recovery from 68.3 to 80.0 percent the conversion of carbon from the tree to marketable lumber can increase from 38.9 to approximately 45.6 percent.”  More wood converted to lumber means more carbon continues to be stored in the wood.
Enhanced Use Of The National Resource
Thin kerf sawmills like those produced by Wood-Mizer not only provide substantial yield increases from an existing resource, they allow the use of tree parts and other materials that cannot be efficiently sawn by conventional technologies.  At a recent conference focusing on urban forestry this attribute was strikingly demonstrated when a tree branch only a meter or so in length was stumbled across by a spectator in the nearby brush then milled on a Wood-Mizer to produce strikingly beautiful wood suitable for use as furniture or art wood. 
Thin kerf sawmilling allows wood currently considered to be usable only for fuel wood by conventional mills to be converted into valuable lumber when processed on a band saw mill.
Greater Yield From Log Imports Means More Profit Per Log And Less Need To Purchase
The positive implications on the need to import wood to fill India’s appetite for wood products are obvious if yield from a given resource can be increased by 20 – 30%.  Profit per log for the processor increases even as the outflow of capital from the nation is reduced.
Enhanced Access To The Industry Due To Increased Profitability And Reduced Costs
Small thin kerf sawmills can be purchased for a fraction the cost of conventional sawmills.  Studies done at Auburn University in the United States point to the ability the mills provide to cooperative ventures, small scale enterprises and others to enter the marketplace.  A significant majority of the 50,000 mills Wood-Mizer has sold over the years have resulted in the formation of thousands of family businesses. 
Conclusions:
Population increases leading to supply shortages, a significant opportunity to make use of currently underutilized fiber to produce high quality products and the opportunities afforded by new technologies lead to the inescapable conclusion that the Indian forest products industry is on the cusp of substantial growth.  The beneficiaries will include industry participants as well as the people of the nation as a whole.
Optimizing yield from the resource is especially important in countries like India where the resource is limited compared to demand.  Because thin kerf sawmills are capable of significantly increasing yield from a log they represent one of the most important innovations seen by the industry in recent years.