AlterNet recently published a piece by Adam Macon of the Dogwood Alliance on the increasing damage caused to southern forests in the US as the result of wood pellet exports to Europe.
Hurricane Matthew and the aftermath of devastating flooding across the Carolinas has been a dramatic example of the costs our communities have to bear in the face of increased impacts from a changing climate. It is yet another reminder that it’s high time we get serious about addressing global climate change and reducing carbon in our atmosphere. But not all solutions are created equal and one in particular is actually making matters worse for the climate, forests and our communities.
In the past 60 years, we’ve lost 33 million acres of natural forests in the southern U.S. Many of them are coastal wetlands forests, which act as life jackets against hurricanes for coastal communities. These forests would have helped to save homes and lives in eastern North Carolina from the ongoing impacts from Hurricane Matthew—if they were still standing.
The intense European demand for wood pellets has put at risk 15 million acres of unprotected southern forests (about the size of West Virginia), and more than 600 imperiled, threatened or endangered species. It’s become abundantly clear: Now is the time to act to protect southern forests.