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WHAT IS HAPPENING TO FORESTS?

EXPERTS EXPLAIN THE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

A report from the European Forest Institute, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, has recently shown that climate change are playing a crucial role altering the environment.

Additionally, the study stresses that forests are particularly vulnerable to the rapid changes occurring in the climate system.

In relation to that, climate change has significantly damaged forests in the last few decades, the report says. Moreover, researcher have outlined that severe damages from wind, bark beetles, and wildfires have increased significantly in Europe’s forests in recent years. Extreme weather conditions have considerably intensified, challenges the sustainable management of forest ecosystems.

The report has revealed that the alarming consequences caused by forest disturbance has increased over the last 40 years in Europe, reaching 56 million cubic meters of timber annually in the years from 2002 to 2010. Furthermore, studies estimate that this trend will likely continue: forest disturbance will increase damages by another million cubic meters of timber every year over the next 20 years.

Climate change represents the main factor that drive this increase, the report shows.

In this context, the international team of researcher have also described in this report another crucial element: the strong feedback effect from forest disturbances on the climate system. Environmental scientists argue that Europe’s forests at present are playing an important role, helping to reduce the effects of climate change absorbing large quantities of carbon dioxide. However, the carbon lost from the damaged trees could reduce this effect, reversing the positive impact of forest management measures created to mitigate climate change. In this way, the increase in forest disturbance caused by the climate could even worsen the consequences of climate change.

In this framework, experts stress the importance to undertake stronger management measures in order to protect biodiversity and forests, reducing carbon losses and supporting the forests’ role in mitigating climate change. In addition to that, forest managers need to adapt to changing phenomena to preserve forests capability of functioning to society’s benefit.

 

The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Tuesday, 05 August 2014

(Source: The Guardian)