Are Forests Breathing Easier? Thank City Dwellers
Urbanization and going back to nature seem like incompatible concepts, but there’s a body of evidence that says increasing migration to cities has definite environmental benefits. An obvious one is that living close to, or even where you work takes cars off the road and reduces CO2 emissions. Also, as people increasingly move to urban centers, pressure on global forests eases. Because forests double as the planet’s lungs, they are a natural and effective answer to sequestering carbon emissions. The more those particular lungs can hold, the better.
A study published last month by Science, suggests the world’s forests are doing better than anticipated, and the reason for that is traced to increased urban living.
The study, led by U.S. Forest Service researcher Yude Pan (and cited by The New York Times’ Green blog), found the world’s established forests absorb 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, or about a third of the total released by burning fossil fuels.
Pan says the study is the most comprehensive analysis of the global carbon budget to date, showing that forests are a far more significant carbon sink than previously thought. At the same time, the report emphasizes the devastating effects of tropical deforestation and the need to protect trees that perform an enormous global service.
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