By Gerald Busch
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Extra resources for Accounting of biological sinks and sources under the Kyoto Protocol : a step forwards or backwards for global environmental protection?
There is some evidence to suggest that repeated harvesting does not compromise the constancy of soil carbon stocks (Johnson, 1992). This form of human intervention would therefore not be accounted for under Article 3 para 3 of the Kyoto Protocol, even where forest degradation does de facto lead to deforestation. The gradual degradation of forests through inappropriate selective timber harvesting, unauthorized cutting and anthropogenic fire is a further process beside deforestation and forest conversion which may well have a momentous impact on the global carbon balance (Brown, 1996).
The accumulation of humus (Berg and Matzner, 1997) that has taken place as a result of high nitrogen deposition is only a short-term carbon sink. On the one hand, cations are also stored in the humus, which intensifies nutrient imbalances (leading to yellowing and forest damage). On the other hand, there is a risk that the accumulated litter is very suddenly mineralized in the event of clearcutting, and large amounts of nitrate and carbon dioxide are released. But even if the deleterious effects of high nitrogen deposition levels are disregarded, high growths in carbon stocks are not equivalent to long-term storage.
In Siberian coniferous forests, the proportion of charcoal in the humus and mineral soil figures about 25%. , 1997). 41 7 Assessment The German Advisory Council on Global Change views both climate protection and biodiversity conservation as essential objectives of global environmental policy (WBGU, 1996). The Council has repeatedly stressed the urgency of soil conservation (WBGU, 1995). The Council therefore basically welcomes the idea of linking the protection of the global climate and the protection of greenhouse gas sinks, as would appear conceivable by offsetting climate protection commitments against sink protection activities.
Accounting of biological sinks and sources under the Kyoto Protocol : a step forwards or backwards for global environmental protection? by Gerald Busch