From: Science Daily
Published February 2, 2013 07:48 AM

Planting Trees Helps Fight Climate Change, but mainly locally

Afforestation, planting trees in an area where there have previously been no trees, can reduce the effect of climate change by cooling temperate regions, finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal Carbon Balance and Management. Afforestation would lead to cooler and wetter summers by the end of this century.

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Without check climate change is projected to lead to summer droughts and winter floods across Europe. Using REMO, the regional climate model of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, researchers tested what would happen to climate change in 100 years if land currently covered in non-forest vegetation was converted into deciduous forest. This equates to more than a doubling of forest in Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Northern Ukraine, Northern Germany and France. But in already heavily forested countries such as Sweden the increase is smaller, at less than 10%.

The large leaf area and low aerodynamic resistance of these types of trees lends itself to enhanced evapotranspiration compared to other vegetation, cooling the surrounding air, and leading to cooler surface temperatures. The model indicates that in the northern part of central Europe and Ukraine afforestation results in 0.3-0.5C decrease in temperature and 10-15% more summer rain by 2071-2090.

Forest scene via Shutterstock.

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