A recent study revealed that not all forests stop climate change.
In time, forests have played a major part in the global carbon cycle. They interfere in climate shifts by preserving the carbon that would be otherwise released in the atmosphere.
It is a well known fact that planting trees is an important strategy when fighting against environmental changes. However, a new study shows that some forests may not have the desired effect. Researchers claim that tree planting will not necessarily diminish the effects of climate change.
In their study, scientists tried to recreate land cultivation history in Europe starting from 1750 until the present day. They took into consideration all the changes over the years, from deforestation to afforestation as well as the type of trees that were planted. Using samples, the researchers analyzed all the effects of these changes along the years.
During their reconstruction, they found that forests have changed in various ways in the last 250 years. Almost 85 percent of the forests in Europe were submitted to forest management practices. People cut down trees to make the land well suited for agriculture or simply for using wood for fuel.
Kim Naudts, the lead author of the study said that nowadays a forest preserves less carbon than it did in 1750. In addition, it was found that broad leaf trees were replaced with conifers. Conifer leaves are darker than broad leaf trees, therefore the result was an unintended warming effect.
Also, these type of trees conserve more water which makes the air drier. Moreover, researchers revealed that during the study period air temperature increased by 0.12 degrees Celsius. This also is a side effect of people’s tendency to plant conifers such as pines which have darker color and absorbs the sunlight better.
Scientists’ opinion is that these changes reduced forests’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Kim Naudts suggested that is very important to take into consideration factors such as leaf color when planting trees.
Experts say that not all forests stop climate change, but individuals might not be fully convinced. People should take part into forest management practices so as to understand better how the climate may be cooled down.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia