The Nordic ministers of forestry held a meeting in Iceland last week to discuss climate change and concluded that increased forestation in the Arctic regions could prove an important tool in the fight against global warming.
“I believe forestry in the northern hemisphere is definitely a powerful weapon in the fight against the warming of the earth,” Brynhildur Bjarnadóttir, an expert at the state-run Iceland Forest Service, told Morgunbladid.
“The government is aiming at reducing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Bjarnadóttir said. “Research by the Iceland Forest Service in Iceland shows without a doubt that binding of carbon dioxide increases in a country where forests are growing.”
Other experts have pointed out that it would be more sensible to concentrate on the preservation of rain forests because they grow faster than forests in the northern hemisphere and thus bind carbon dioxide more efficiently.
Bjarnadóttir said that preserving rain forests and growing new forests in the Arctic regions is equally important and that both strategies should be implemented in the fight against global warming.
An average vehicle which drives 30,000 kilometers per year emits about 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in that time. To offset that carbon dioxide, one hectare of forest, around 2,500 trees, has to be planted.
The average binding for carbon dioxide in Icelandic forests is estimated at 4.4 tons per hectare per year over the forest’s 90-year growth period.