Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Droughts caused by climate change destroy forests

Our forests store approximately 45 percent of the carbon found on land which means that they are vital in our fight against climate change. However, the increased climate change impact has in the last ten years resulted in frequent droughts that have caused deaths of trees in all continents, except Antarctica.

Dying of trees and lesser forest cover gives extra impact to global warming by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere by trees and also by releasing carbon that was locked up in their wood.

The death of forests trees can also have huge impact on biodiversity; rainforests for instance belong to the areas with the richest biodiversity on our planet so increased forest mortality can irreversibly alter many ecosystems.

If droughts continue they will cause major damage to our forests in years to come. Droughts negatively affect transport of water in trees which results in tree deaths and they also cause huge wildfires.

One of the recent examples of what drought is doing to trees comes from Texas where wildfires destroyed around 175 million cubic feet of timber, according to Texas Forest Service economists and analysts. The economic value of all those trees as they stood in the forest was $97 million. The total volume of all that destroyed timber could have produced $1.6 billion worth of different forest products.

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