Forests and the Health of the Planet
The health of our forests directly impacts the health of the planet. The importance of forests to the Earth’s ecosystems cannot be overstated. Research shows that forest die-offs are on the increase and this troubling trend is being linked to global warming. Heat and water stress associated with climate change are making forests vulnerable to insect attacks, fires and other problems.
As reported in an October 2011 New York Times article, millions of acres of forests in the northern and central Rockies are dying. In Colorado, at least 15 percent of that state’s aspen forests are suffering due to a lack of water. The U.S. is not the only country where forests are succumbing to the effects of a warming climate, trees are also being impacted by climate change all around the globe.
The evidence for global warming continues to mount with March 2012 being the warmest in recorded history in the U.S. and January to March 2012 being the warmest first quarter on record in the lower 48 states. This is but the most recent data corroborating an increasingly irrefutable body of evidence.
Greenhouse gases are fueling global warming and we continue to pour massive amounts of these emissions into the atmosphere. About 10 billion tons of carbon is being dumped into the atmosphere every year from the combustion of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests. The concentration of the gas in the atmosphere has jumped more than 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution, and this could double or even triple this century.
Despite the wealth of data supporting global warming and the crucial importance of forests to planetary health, world industry leaders in wood materials are gathering in Seattle on April 11-13 to discuss the role of woody biomass for production of biofuels. According to a UBC study, wood-based biofuels could be a competitive industry by 2020. While biofuels offer questionable benefits to the planet, wood based biofuels are even more suspect.
Forest via Shutterstock.
Article continues at ENN Affiliate Global Warming is Real.