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If that happens, climate breakdown is likely to become much more severe in its impacts, and the world will have to cut down much faster on carbon-producing activities to counteract the loss of the carbon sinks.
What’s Happening: Scientists have observed for a while that tropical rainforests have been storing less carbon but this new study highlights the rapid decline of their carbon sequestration capacity.
Rainforests like the Amazon have been viewed by the international community as an important natural tool in fighting climate change, but we’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that forests can only clean up so much of our mess.
As the Guardian went on to explain,
“The uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by tropical forests peaked in the 1990s when about 46bn tonnes were removed from the air, equivalent to about 17% of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. By the last decade, that amount had sunk to about 25bn tonnes or just 6% of global emissions.”
This loss in sequestration is occurring largely due to trees dying.
Why This Matters: We’re pushing our tropical forests to the brink, as we saw with the devastating Amazon Rainforest fires last year, human activity is an urgent threat to these important and delicate ecosystems. What’s really worth noting here is that governments, like the United States, that are lead by conservative leaders with tendencies to be climate laggards are proposing massive initiatives to plant trees as the basis of their climate strategies. These tree-planting initiatives also come without a significant goal to transition away from fossil fuels or much of the activity that’s contributed to the current state of the climate crisis. This new study shows that trees aren’t going to be effective carbon sinks unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases in the first place.
As wildfires across the West continue to rage, President Trump has continued to push the message that the cause of the fires is solely due to poor forest management. It’s not a new message for Republicans, but science unequivocally points to the ways in which climate change is supercharging wildfires. Ezra Romero, an environmental reporter […]
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer As Stefanie Glinski reported for the Thomson Reuters Foundation this week, large-scale deforestation in Afghanistan, due primarily to the past 40 years of war, has advanced flooding in the country (as trees prevent soil erosion and serve as a buffer against flooding). According to Glinski, “Trees have long been […]
Why This Matters: The Tongass is the largest national forest and one of the most important forests in the world (as the Ag Department itself says – watch the video) because it contains some of the last surviving old-growth temperate rainforests in North America and is home to numerous species of endangered wildlife and is very important to several native tribes.
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