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A way out


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A way out of the current climate crisis. And a way forward for the valuation of ecosystem services.

This presentation by Dr. Ranil Senanayake describes the important role that photosynthetic biomass plays in maintaining and regulating crucial life support systems, such as oxygen, water-cycling and soil creation. The valuation of photosynthetic biomass has the potential to offer livelihood opportunities for the world's rural people and at the same time offers an investment opportunity that could restore and maintain healthy ecosystems.

Published in: Environment
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A way out

  1. 1. A way out of the current global crisis by looking "Beyond the Current Appreciation of Climate Change and Bio Mass" Ranil Senanayake
  2. 2. Biomass • Biomass is the physical weight (accumulation) of photosynthetic and biosynthetic compounds. It is counted as a total of both living and non living compounds
  3. 3. Why is biomass important ? • It represents the fixed carbon content of any place. • It represents the productivity of any place. • It contains a component that is vital to the sustainability of life on this planet ‘Photosynthetic Biomass’ (PB) • It represents the ecological capital of any place.
  4. 4. Biomass is created through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process that binds solar energy into a long lived, usable form. It is energy in this form, that powers much of the activity of life • Light energy is absorbed by various specialized organic compounds in plants such as chlorophyll, which conduct the process of Photosynthesis • CO2+H2O + Sunlight -> Sugars + O2
  5. 5. Biodiversity The patterns wrought in biomass as a consequence of climate and time is termed Biodiversity
  6. 6. Why is Biodiversity important ? Trees account for only 1% of the biodiversity of any forest • It represents the network of living organisms that make up an ecosystem. The more complex or diverse the ecosystem the more sustainable it is. • It is a record of the history of life at any given place. It suggests the most appropriate ecosystems for any area. • It provides the indicators by which change can be assessed. • It contains organic information that will be critical for future industry
  7. 7. The diversity of life cycles Carbon and locks up the excess into the fossil pool
  8. 8. Two visions of oil • In Sri Lanka, an official communiqué displayed in the nation’s newspapers states “No oil means no development, and less oil, less development. It is oil that keeps the wheels of development moving”. Sri Lankan Government communiqué 1979 • In Ecuador, the Shuar an Amazonian tribe under whose land lies massive deposits of oil, oppose its mining, they say : “Oil represents the spirits of the dead ask it for power and you scarifice your children”(CESR, 2000)
  9. 9. The myth of Economic Development through consumption leads to oil addiction
  10. 10. The price of ‘Oil Addiction’ to the atmosphere
  11. 11. Why Biotic Carbon is different to fossil carbon • Biotic (biological) Carbon • Biotic Carbon - has a very significant chemical signature in the ratio of its 13C to 12C and always contains the isotope 14C. • Biotic Carbon has sequestration rates measured in tens of thousands years • Fossil Carbon • Fossil Carbon lacks 14C and has a lower 13C to 12C ratio does not belong in the modern or biotic cycle. • Fossil Carbon has sequestration rates measured in tens of millions years
  12. 12. Geo (natural) and Fossil (Anthropogenic) sources of Carbon Dioxide
  13. 13. The Drivers of Climate Change • 1. An addiction to fossil fuels • 2 Irresponsible consumerism as a driver of ‘development’. • 3 Diminution of the natural cooling factor • 4 The subsidy enjoyed by fossil energy. Global Warming is the consequence
  14. 14. Has Global Cooling a role in Climate Change ? • Cooling actions on the ambient temperature of the planet : • Evapotranspiration • Albedo • Shading • Upwelling
  15. 15. Water functions of Photosynthetic Biomass 1.Cleaning groundwater 2. Cooling ambient environment 3. Contributing Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) 4.Cycling the atmospheric water reservoir (over 28,300 GT/yr)
  16. 16. Photosynthetic Biomass Cooling the Ambient Environment • 1 Tree = 10 AC units, 120,000 x 10 = 1,200,000 BTU /day • 450 trees /ac = 540,000,000 BTU/day • 1100 trees /ha = 594,000,000,000 BTU/day • Cooling loss per minute through forest loss = 5940,000,000,000 BTU • Cooling loss per year through forest loss = 29,106,000,000,000,000 BTU
  17. 17. Photosynthetic Biomass Cycling the atmospheric water reservoir (over 28,300 GT/yr)
  18. 18. Mountain Forests Contributing Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) ( an increase in global albedo by 1-2% can diminish the warming effect of CO2 by over 50 years.)
  19. 19. The difference between live and dead clouds
  20. 20. Photosynthetic Biomass is the only production system that maintains the Global Oxygen Cycle The creation and destruction of molecular Oxygen are in near equilibrium, but local concentrations will change radically in response to increased combustion or deforestation However, the destruction of the Ozone in the stratosphere that is being felt today can be controlled by an increase in Oxygen production. The increase of respiratory diseases in cities today is a direct result of lowering oxygen concentrations, as the levels of oxygen fall these diseases will increase radically. .
  21. 21. In the end it is the leaves of plants that comprise the terrestrial Photosynthetic Biomass
  22. 22. The standing stock of forest biomass is 283 billion Tons Thus its photosynthetic biomass (leaves) is about 28.3 billion tons
  23. 23. Other Photosynthetic biomass stocks non tree (60.8 GT, marine 3Gt. Approx 93.1 Gt total) These are the drivers of the planetary life support system, unvalued to date and being lost at an exponential rate
  24. 24. Placing a value on being able to continue living • The current value of the global carbon market is about $125 billion (2010) • This amount is what keeping climate change at bay is estimated to be worth • If keeping the life support system of the planet functioning is worth a similar amount • A kg of photosynthetic biomass should be worth about $ 1.35/kg
  25. 25. The unique value of Photosynthetic Biomass • Photosynthetic biomass can only retain value as long as it is living. - A leaf on a tree, for instance, has value as PB only as long as it is carrying out the activity of photosynthesis, pluck that leaf and the activity ceases and so does the value. - The economy will, for the first time begin to put a value on life.
  26. 26. The gains in recognizing the value of Photosynthetic Biomass • An increase of Photosynthetic Biomass anywhere will render that area more productive in environmental services as well in economic opportunities. • It will change urban – rural relations into a more equitable and sustainable state. • It will rapidly increase the biomass capital of the planet locking up Carbon Dioxide.
  27. 27. Analog Forestry maximizes Photosynthetic Biomass in terrestrial anthropogenic ecosystems
  28. 28. Analog Forestry is a silvicultural system that seeks to create a tree-dominated ecosystem that is analogous to the original mature ecosystem in architectural structure and ecological function. Principles of Analog Forestry Formula Database Map
  29. 29. Structure Function Design Formula = Structure Database = Function Map = Design Principles of Analog Forestry
  30. 30. Perspectives of Analog Forestry • It is designed as an act of compensation perhaps for an abused area. • It is designed from a perspective of architecture, with overstory, understory etc. • It is designed from an understanding that Nature will self-complicate, given the opportunity. • It is designed speculatively, based upon best understandings. • Its design reflects the personal aesthetic preferences of the designer. For instance, another designer, with the same knowledge, might well create a somewhat different forest, but that had the same outcomes as another analog forest designer. • It is designed as a piece of eco-social work. By this it is meant that, the species selected that in due course, self-complicate, are designed to be of use to society, with the express intention of giving society the task of protecting, enhancing and benefiting from this act of creativity. • It creates a new class of labor in society. By this is meant, a person who is simultaneously, consciously educated to be both top predator and top conserver. (Harrison 2002-2009) • The principal act of conservation, the understanding built into the education of the new class of people, is that the harvest preserves the system (Harrison 1986). • Therefore, the very act of maintaining an analog system, be it aquatic, open-canopy forest, grass and shrublands, or any mixture, including closed-canopy forest, has similar properties in their creation and in their maintenance. • This kind of work and this kind of husbandry precludes both monocultural activities on the ground and above all the kind of society that creates monoculture of the mind. (Harrison in Senanayake 2013)
  31. 31. FOREST GARDEN PRODUCTS CERTIFICATION SYSTEM Healing Nat ure, Rewarding Farmers and Providing Choice f or Conscious Consumers CONTROL BY F.G.P Inspection & Certification (Pvt) Ltd.