Our species took its first steps in a world covered in trees. Today, forests offer us sustenance, shelter, and clean the air that we breathe.
How global warming will change forests
Nei prossimi decenni i cambiamenti climatici potrebbero mutare la composizione delle foreste.
Visitors to northern forests in coming decades probably will see a very different set of trees. This is what a new study reveals, carried out by researchers of the University of Minnesota.
The study is based on a unique long-term experiment carried out to examine the effects of global warming on trees in the boreal forest, along the border between Canada and the US. According to researchers, as temperatures increase, arboreal species will change.
The research, published by Nature Climate Change, highlights how the growth of some species, such as firs and spruce firs, which thrive in the coldest areas of northern Canada, was affected by a 2-degree increase, whilst trees like oaks and maples, which favour a more temperate climate, showed improvements.
Such species could continue to coexist, but if the temperatures rise again, species preferring temperate climate will be favoured.
The scientists, led by Peter Reich from the forest resources department at the university, simulated the effects of a warmer climate on 10 native and 1 non-native species over 3 growing seasons. The researchers used infrared heating lamps and soil heating cables to simulate the effects of just a few degrees of climate warming.
They also monitored growth rates of over 4,000 trees as well as how efficiently they converted sunlight into energy, the process known as photosynthesis. The results indicated that a warmer climate is likely to accelerate the northward invasion of non-native species.
“In the best case scenario oaks and maples will become more dominant and we will have a different, but still functional forest. In the worst-case scenario, oaks and maples will not replace the declining species fast enough, and our forests will be patchy and perhaps filled with invading buckthorn,” said Peter Reich. The change in the forest will influence several aspects, from the supply of timber to habitat for wildlife.
Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
A historic win for the Ashaninka of Brazil as they receive compensation for deforestation on their land
On top of a 2.4 million dollar compensation, the indigenous Ashaninka people will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands in the 1980s.
The tapir was reintroduced into Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the country’s most at-risk ecosystem. The species can play a key role in the forest’s recovery.
Forests are home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. This year’s International Day of Forests highlights the urgent changes needed to save them.
After a legal battle that lasted two years, Indonesia’s Supreme Court has revoked the permit to mine for coal in the forests of South Kalimantan in Borneo.
The list of human and animal victims of the Australia wildfires keeps growing – one species might already have gone extinct – as the smoke even reaches South America.
Areas where the FARC guerrilla used to hold power in Colombia have faced record deforestation. Farmers cut down trees, burn land and plant grass for cows. Because, “what else can we do for a living here in the Colombian Amazon”? An intimate report from the heart of the felled forest in Caquetá.
Refusing the anthropocentric vision and respecting the laws of ecology is the only way to safeguard the future of our and all other species, Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson argues in this op-ed.