Expired News - Nature wins: Study says the world is gaining trees, despite man's deforestation efforts - The Weather Network
Your weather when it really mattersTM


Please choose your default site


Asia - Pacific



Nature wins: Study says the world is gaining trees, despite man's deforestation efforts

File photo

File photo

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 4:10 PM - A new study published in Nature Climate Change says the world's tree cover is improving, despite decades of deforestation efforts at the hands of man. While the news is certainly uplifting, more work needs to be done to preserve the planet's green space.

Recent tree-planting efforts in China, the re-growth of forests in former Soviet states and healthier Savannas due to above-average rainfall have helped expand the world's vegetation, adding close to 4 billion tonnes of above-ground carbon to the Earth since 2003.

Scientists analyzed 20 years of satellite data and found the increase in spite of large-scale deforestation efforts in the Amazon rainforest and in Indonesia.

It appears as though global plant growth has been significant enough to offset the removal of trees in these two regions.

In addition to providing food and shelter, plants are an invaluable resource, working to remove carbon dioxide that's released into the atmosphere by cars and factories, among other things. Trees convert carbon dioxide into food, locking the compound inside their bark.

RELATED: Nearly a quarter of the world's forest loss due to fires in Canada and Russia

While the improving greenspace is a positive sign, researchers say the tree growth isn't enough to reverse the effects of climate change.

"From this research, we can see these plants can help absorb some carbon dioxide, but there's still a lot of carbon dioxide staying in the atmosphere," Yi Liu, the study's lead author and a scientist at the University of New South Wales told Reuters.

"If we want to stabilise the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - and avoid the consequent impacts - it still requires us to reduce fossil fuel emissions."

Scientists say it's important to monitor global vegetation patterns, as any gains can easily be lost due to abnormal weather patterns or a change in government policies.

"Savannas and shrublands are vulnerable to rainfall – one year can be very wet, and more carbon will be fixed in plants, but the next year can be very dry, and then we will lose the carbon fixed in previous years," Liu explained to Reuters.

The complete study can be found in Nature Climate Change.

Sources: Reuters | Nature Climate Change


Default saved

Search Location


Sign In

Please sign in to use this feature.