Forests’ role as massive carbon sinks is “at risk of being lost entirely“, top forestry scientists have warned.
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) says forests are under increasing degrees of stress as a result of climate change.
Forests could release vast amounts of carbon if temperatures rise 2.5C (4.5F) above pre-industrial levels, it adds…
[The report, Adaption of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment was] compiled by 35 leading forestry scientists, the report provides what is described as the first global assessment of the ability of forests to adapt to climate change.
“We normally think of forests as putting the brakes on global warming,” observed Professor Risto Seppala from the Finnish Forest Research Institute, who chaired the report’s expert panel.
“But over the next few decades, damage induced by climate change could cause forests to release huge quantities of carbon and create a situation in which they do more to accelerate warming than to slow it down.”
The bottom line is that if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t brought down soon, forests may be transformed from carbon sinks into sources, thus accelerating the warming trend and making it far more difficult for GHG reduction polices to be effective. In other words if forests start releasing GHGs we will gave to make even deeper cuts to our emissions if we hope to stop global warming.
This is one of those thing that we should all be worried about.