Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Deforestation doesn't always release all stored carbon from the trees

The scientists from the University of California have discovered that deforestation doesn't always release all stored carbon from the trees into the atmosphere. The major conclusion from their latest study was that the amount of carbon emissions released when a forest is cleared depends primarily on how the trees will be used and in which part of the world the trees are grown.

They say that if cleared trees are used to create solid wood products (lumber) then wood retains much of its carbon for decades. On the other hand if wood is used to produce biofuels or is turned into pulp for paper, almost all of its stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere.

All previous models started from the presumption that all stored carbon was released immediately so this study could provide new information when creating future climate models. It should give researchers a deeper understanding of the complex global impacts of deforestation on climate change.

Since the tropical forests of the Southern hemisphere are frequently cleared for biofuels and paper production they are also the ones responsible for the biggest amount of greenhouse gas emissions coming from the deforestation.

On the other hand, temperate forests in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe are cleared primarily for use in solid wood products which means that they store its carbon for decades.

This study is another proof that land use is one of the main driving factors of climate change.

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