The role of forest
We all know that forests are important, but sometimes it’s hard to see why. Forests play a huge role in keeping our planet cool and healthy. By reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, they help keep global temperatures down and prevent climate change.
We need to do everything we can to protect these vital ecosystems! Trees are one of the most important aspects of our planet and our lives. Not only do they provide us with oxygen and create habitats for animals, but they also play a huge role in cooling the Earth.
New data shows that forests deliver climate benefits well beyond just storing carbon dioxide. Forests help keep air near and far cool and moist due to the way they physically transform energy and water.
The study found that overall forests keep the planet at least half of a degree Celsius cooler when biophysical effects are combined with carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation.
“Despite the mounting evidence that forests deliver myriad climate benefits, trees are still viewed just as sticks of carbon by many policymakers in the climate change arena,” said Louis Verchot, principal scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and co-author of the study The Unseen Effects of Deforestation: Biophysical Effects on Climate. “Forests are key to mitigation, but also adaptation.”
Researchers found that forests emit chemicals called biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) which create aerosols that reflect incoming energy and form clouds – both are cooling effects. While they also lead to a buildup of two greenhouse gases – ozone and methane – on balance, the cooling outweighs the warming.
Deep roots, efficient water use and so-called canopy roughness also enable forests to mitigate the impact of extreme heat.
The benefits of trees are innumerable, and we should all do our part to plant more trees! Not only do they improve air quality and provide shade, but they also play a crucial role in cooling the Earth’s surface.
Think before you cut down that tree! Deforestation has a domino effect that can be disastrous. Not only does it release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it also changes local climate conditions, which can lead to decreased rainfall and increased temperatures.
What we can do more?
If you want to help stop climate change, then protect the world’s forests! They are some of our best defenses against global warming.
You have the power to help protect our planet! Every day, you can make a difference by making choices that reduce your carbon footprint. For example, walk or bike instead of driving; turn off electronics when they’re not in use; and eat less meat (livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions).
But it’s not just up to individuals – governments and businesses also need to take action. That’s why it’s important to voice your support for policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, like the Paris Agreement. Let your representatives know that you want them to take climate action!
So next time you’re feeling guilty about not recycling or using reusable bags, remember that by preserving trees, you’re also helping to preserve our planet!
by Nina Lakhani