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Author Topic: CO2 Trees
Albert Einstien
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Icon 3 posted May 14, 2007 13:43      Profile for Albert Einstien   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In a tree's life, it absorbs huge amounts of CO2 and it's "excrement" is oxygen, common knowledge. But, when a tree dies, it's store of CO2 is released. Of course we know that the ozone layer is slowly fading away, some of natural sources and some of human intervention. If, by some unknown tree disease, all the trees in the world die, then...well you can guess for yourself. Does anyone think that a virus such as Dutch Elm diease could mutate to become airborne or waterbourne and infect a large population of the worlds trees? Post related views please.
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spungo
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Icon 1 posted May 14, 2007 13:59      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dutch Elm disease is a fungus -- transmitted by beetles. I'm not sure if fungii can mutate... anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

edit: stupid question... anything can mutate. Unless of course that wouldn't be very intelligent a design...

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Albert Einstien
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Icon 1 posted May 14, 2007 14:03      Profile for Albert Einstien   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As I may have commented, I was talking about any sort of tree killer, human intervention included.
So, apart from killing CO2 absorbers, we're actually releasing CO2.

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Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted May 14, 2007 14:04      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was under the impression the Ozone layer is recovering.

I doubt that a single virus/fungus/spungo will mutate and destroy all of Earth's trees. We're having problems here in Canada though, with pests such as the Pine Beetle. They are spreading due to Global Climate Change, and killing a lot more trees than in the past.

Looking out my window at the clearcut forests of Vancouver Island, I think Human Deforestation Frenzy is much more likely to infect more trees. [Frown]

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted May 14, 2007 14:06      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(Re: previous-but-one post.) Yeah, but if you're only burning what's there (and re-planting to compensate) then the overall effect is zero. Burning wood on its own is not the problem. The problem comes from burning fossil fuels -- which means you're adding to the net CO2 level.

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Albert Einstien
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Icon 1 posted May 14, 2007 14:15      Profile for Albert Einstien   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was talking to one of my friends today about this matter, he was saying that in the lifetime of a tree, it would absorb as much CO2 as it "exhales" oxygen-ergo ratio 1:1 CO2:O. Of course I'm not sure if this is true, but if humans cut down the tree then proceed to burn it, there would probably be more CO2 exhaled than oxygen exhaled (I say probably as I'm not sure of the ratio-CO2:O).
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spungo
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Icon 1 posted May 14, 2007 14:25      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Albert Einstien:
I was talking to one of my friends today about this matter, he was saying that in the lifetime of a tree, it would absorb as much CO2 as it "exhales" oxygen-ergo ratio 1:1 CO2:O. Of course I'm not sure if this is true, but if humans cut down the tree then proceed to burn it, there would probably be more CO2 exhaled than oxygen exhaled (I say probably as I'm not sure of the ratio-CO2:O).

I would have thought that by growing and then burning a tree, the net creation of CO2 in the atmosphere was roughly zero -- the carbon that makes up the (large portion of the) mass of the tree comes from the air (plus a tiny amount from the soil). Hence, it's in a closed cycle, more or less.

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted May 14, 2007 17:12      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

No. It's his day off.

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted May 15, 2007 02:48      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think trees produce that much oxygen actually. If they all died, then smaller plants and other oxygen producers like algae might be able to churn out enough to compensate. If you are concerned about it from a selfish point of view (all the people suffocate), then I reckon it is much more likely that we will all kill each other with nuclear bombs or bird flu, than have all trees die.
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 15, 2007 05:43      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."

-- Ronald Reagan, 1981

Cut me down before I kill again

-- sign attached to large tree near Reagan motorcade, California, 1981

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 15, 2007 07:52      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
Dutch Elm disease is a fungus -- transmitted by beetles. I'm not sure if fungii can mutate... anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

edit: stupid question... anything can mutate. Unless of course that wouldn't be very intelligent a design...

*phew*

Glad you caught that. Otherwise I was going to have to slap you around with a large package of portabella mushrooms...

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zorgon
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Icon 1 posted May 17, 2007 09:03      Profile for zorgon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Albert Einstien:
Of course we know that the ozone layer is slowly fading away, some of natural sources and some of human intervention.

What? Of course we don't know that. The ozone layer is recovering very slowly and the only known cause for its depletion comes from industrially produced CFCs in the stratosphere.

And yeah, widespread tree "plagues" is a big concern, particularly in places where old growth forests have been cut down and replaced with monocultures of the same species. A lot of them are beetle-borne, like pine pitch canker which is a big problem in California right now.

Keep in mind that in old growth forests the carbon trapped in wood has been there for hundreds, even thousands of years, so the cycle is only "closed" on time scales dating to the preindustrial area. Deforestation in the tropics is a huge climate problem.

This article came out yesterday, and it's a great intro to current problems in climate change. Great read, I encourage everyone. [Wink]

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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted May 17, 2007 15:38      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One problem (particularly it seems in the nordic countries) is that the CO2 and sulphure dioxide in the atmosphere causes acid rain, which damages the foliage of the trees, which means whole forests die off.

With today's news that the ocean CO2 sinks have started to fail a lot sooner than expected, the chances of worldwide CO2 levels rising to a critical point where whole countries are deforested by acid rain becomes a potential danger. (that's assuming we don't get an algae bloom in the oceans that eats all the oxygen first of course).

*edit* I should point out that the primary source of the pollutants causing the acid rain over Sweden/Norway etc. is probably power stations from the rest of Europe, before I get a bunch of annoyed eco vikings flaming me [Smile]

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 02:39      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I thought algal blooms were good for global warming?

All that photosynthesis removing CO2. I remember reading about people seeding the oceans to encourage the blooms. Can't remember what with though - either iron or sulfur.

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Stibbons
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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 04:20      Profile for Stibbons   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
All that photosynthesis removing CO2. I remember reading about people seeding the oceans to encourage the blooms. Can't remember what with though - either iron or sulfur.

Iron. You stick it in the Pacific where there is lots of phosphate spare but no free nitrate. Then nitrogen fixing bacteria etc can use the iron to create more nitrate.

This allows more algae and associated critters to grow as all the things they need are available - nitrate and phosphate in the water, and carbon from the atmosphere.

The only issue with this is the algea etc using up all the oxygen through respiration and decay after death, and making the waters anoxic. But we don't need to consider that at all, lets go with the quick fix! [Frown]

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