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As man breaths, man inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide so as to maintain the normal operation of the human body. Forests breath, too. This forest respiration reduces carbon dioxide levels, helping to alleviate the worsening of the greenhouse effect on the earth, and plays an ever-critical role. Since forest influences our life a great deal, it is something with which we must become acquainted.
The "Kyoto Protocol" under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) was finalized on the 16th of February in 2005. The multilateral agreement, after eight years of bargaining and negotiation, drew up measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to hinder global warming. All of the signatories agreed, either as a nation or as blocs, to ensure that between 2008 and 2012, the total amount of human emission of greenhouse gases, based on the year 1990 levels, must be cut by 5.2%. The emissions include carbon dioxide (C02), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HCFs), perfluorocarbon (PCFs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). The Kyoto Protocol also states that action should be taken to achieve the target of discriminatory reduction.
Though Taiwan is not a signatory of "Kyoto Protocol," there is no reason that Taiwan should exclude itself from the trend and movement given its role as a member of the global community.
However, since Taiwan is still a developing country economically, the emission of greenhouse gases should continue to increase barring the cessation of industrial development. Statistics prove that as fact. Emissions of carbon dioxide in the Taiwan in 1990 was 121 million tons, and increases yearly. Human-related carbon dioxide emissions in 1990 were 5.57 tons, increasing to 9.83 tons in 2000, and 11.76 tons in 2005, with an average annual increase of 7.4%. Therefore, how we can achieve emission reduction to accommodate the internationally stipulated levels is one serious issue.
As far as carbon dioxide is concerned, we can begin focus on keeping tabs on carbon dioxide emissions and work toward environmental adaptation. The Forestry Bureau informs that reduction of carbon dioxide would require restructuring industry, and actively enhancing efficiency and energy allocation and stemming energy consumption. However, this would have a serious impact on our integrated economy, and would be costly. On the other hand, CO2 emission reduction can be achieved through reinforced reforestation and facilitating management strategy for sustainable forest development in order to increase the inhalation and storage functions of carbon dioxide and achieve the objective of environmental adaptation. In other words, it is through "opening up channels" and "sparing consumption" that one achieves an equilibrium between natural ecology and sustainable economic development.
But, what exactly are the inhaling and storing functions of carbon dioxide of the forest?
According to the reaction formula of photosynthesis, it takes an additional 1.6 ton of carbon dioxide for every one-ton increase of woods life, while 1.2 tons of oxygen will be released at the same time. Then, carbon dioxide stored will be transformed in the form of organic carbon and stored inside the woods・ cellular structure, whereas the carbon inhaling and storing capability of woods relies on the growth and death of woods as well as other plant species, age structure of woods, and the health of the woods. Newly vegetated forests can quickly accumulate carbon dioxide in decades time, and when it matures its carbon inhaling and storage capability, it will naturally begin to decline.
In other words, if we can reinforce the respiration and carbon storage capability of Taiwan's forests through enhanced forest management and operation strategies, we can reduce the damage carbon dioxide emissions cause to the earth.
The forest resource in Taiwan amounts to as much as to 58.53% of the size of the island. Its coverage is not only extensive, and no matter how one looks at it, whether from the ecological conservation angle, the water conservation angle or the compliance to the "Kyoto Protocol" angle, the idea mentioned above is achievable. Estimates show that the forest accumulation database established upon forest resource investigation, it is approximated that carbon storage capacity of Taiwan's forests is about 150.7 million tons, while the storage amount of natural woods is about 126.02 million tons, amounting to 83.62%, seconded by the storage amount of bamboo woods which is about 12.67 million tons, amounting to 8.41%; the storage of man-made woods is about 12.00 million tons, amounting to 7.97%. Further divided by forest type, natural broad-leaved forest provides the highest amount of carbon storage of 64.29 million tons, amounting to 42.66% of the totality.
As a whole, woods in Taiwan can absorb about 4.56 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. By hectare, carbon absorption is about 71.68 tons per, with bamboo woods being capable of storing the highest amount at 51.02 tons per.
In recent years, the development of Taiwan's bamboo woods industry is booming. Taiwan's industry has demonstrated significant achievement in terms of green environmental management both in terms of reducing the greenhouse effect and in creating high value added bamboo products. With the greening of city, road, and environment of industrial park, cultivation of green building, reasonable revitalization of natural woods, and enhancement of forest products as well as reinforced recycling these would be important and effective measures to inhale and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and cultivate a greener environment.
To cope with global emission reduction strategy, the Council of Agriculture has, under the project of greenhouse gas reduction, formulated its "healthy forest carbon management" as the integral target. "Healthy forest carbon management" policy entails implementation of three management strategies: carbon inhalation, carbon storage, and carbon replacement, in the hopes of being in-step with other environmental leaders in the international community so as to create sustainable development of Taiwan's ecology.