Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Forests - Nature's answer to global warming

As many of you already know cutting down our fossil fuels emissions is the necessary step in fight against global warming. But forests can also play vital role in this fight and is therefore vital to preserve our existing forests and plant new ones since forests have nature ability to act as a carbon sink and can slow down increase of CO2 emission into the atmosphere.

According to the study that was carried by scientists from Wageningen University in Netherlands large-scale forest plantations could have a significant effect on climate change in the longer term and even the most conservative estimations suggest that the cumulative sequestration potential up to 2100 can compensate for 5-7% of energy and industry related CO2 emissions.

However there isn't enough available land to plant new forests mostly because all available land gets turned to agricultural land. There is also serious deforestation in many parts of the world (Amazon rainforest) also mostly because need for more agricultural land which isn't helping cause either. Forests that are most effective as carbon sinks are tropical rainforests and they should be preserved at any cost, especially the large ones like Amazon rainforest.

And although trees may seem as an ideal solution things won't be that easy since study also suggests how "the potential for the coming decades is limited due to the limited amount of available land and the long period needed to compensate for emissions related to the establishment of the plantations and the net sequestration up to 2020 is limited, given the short-term increased need for agricultural land and the long period needed to compensate for emissions through plantation establishment."

And though short-term potential may be indeed limited long-term potential shouldn't be questionable, of course if we preserve our existing forests (especially tropical rainforests) and plant new forests if we really want to slow down the rapid increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. However with current rates of deforestation in many parts in the world, this looks to be very unlikely scenario.

Rainforests are particularly important in fight against global warming

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