Tuesday, June 7, 2011

World needs forests to sink carbon

Forests are together with our oceans the largest carbon absorbers on our planet. This is the main reason why deforestation is one of the most significant factors contributing to global climate change impact.

Luckily for us, even despite the fact that forest area have expanded very little or none at all in EU and North America, forests are still managing to increase their capacity of sinking carbon. This is because many forests in these areas are becoming increasingly dense, and increased density means larger carbon sinking ability.

According to the latest study by U.S. and European researchers led by Aapo Rautiainen of the University of Helsinki, Finland, there were substantial forests density gains in both EU and North America, while the forest areas in Africa, South America and Asia experienced a small rise in forest density.

Particularly interesting was the data according to which U.S. timberland area grew only 1 percent between 1953 and 2007 while on the other hand the combined national volume of growing stock increased by a remarkable 51 percent.

The good news is that most nations have stopped losing forests while the bad news is that rainforests are still affected with large deforestation (particularly in Indonesia and Brazil).

Our forests remain one of our most important allies in global fight against climate change so heavy deforestation has to be stopped in all corners of the world. This particularly applies to rainforests because they are significantly larger carbon absorbers compared to other forests.

Stopping the deforestation will be one of the key battles in war against climate change. And although nothing guarantees our victory with the forests on our side at least we have some chance of winning it in the end.

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