Forest degradation an essential driver of world warming, research outcomes. CO2-induced tree development cools down? – Watts with that?

Reposted from the NoTricksZone

By P. Gosselin on July 30, 2021

A new study published in the journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence shows that forestry has a significant impact on the cooling capacity of forests.

Our cooling forests. Photo: Copyright P. Gosselin

Also the results of the study suggest that the additional growth of the tree

The study shows why burning trees in “sustainable” biomass plants with wood chips imported from around the world and deforestation for wind farms are really bad ideas. Deforestation leads to warming.

And then imagine what effect trees have in sprawling megalopolises. One could easily argue that poor urban planning has been a major driver of warming over the past 100 years. See cities with the most trees here and here.

Forest ecosystems influence the climate on a global and local level, say the scientists in the new study. An important feature of forests is the regulation of the microclimate of ecosystems.

The original press release on the study is here.

Dismantling the canopy leads to warming

Shading by trees, evaporation of water, storage of heat in biomass and energy conversion through photosynthesis cause forests to cool themselves and their surroundings in hot weather. This can prevent harmful maximum temperatures, especially in the case of persistent heat waves, say scientists from Eberswalde (EUSD) in the study.

The responsible scientist Jeanette Blumröder from the University for Sustainable Development EUSD says: “Increased logging and a correspondingly stronger opening of the treetops drive the maximum temperatures in the forest up.”

0.5 ° C warmer with 10% fewer trees

An extensive series of measurements in beech and pine forests in northern Germany from the hot summers of 2018 and 2019 confirms that if the treetops open by 10%, the “average maximum temperatures rise by about half a degree Celsius”.

In a heavily thinned forest with a broken canopy and interspersed with wind turbine entrances, the microclimatic regulation characteristic of forests is lost. This leads to severe heat and drought damage and, in particular, to the death of old exposed trees, according to new study results. Photo: Copyright P. Gosselin

9 ° C warmer with 67% less biomass

In the biomass-poor pine plantations (177 m3 per hectare), the average maximum temperature was 9 ° C higher than in relatively biomass-rich beech forests (> 565 m3 per hectare).

About 13 ° C warmer in the open pine forest

If one looks at the pine plantations alone, the intensity of use also has a significant influence: On the hottest day of 2019, the temperature difference between those with a relatively dense canopy (72%) and those with particularly open canopy (46%) was over 13 ° C, found the authors.

Deforestation for wind farms leads to severe heat and drought damage and to the death of old exposed trees. Photo: Copyright P. Gosselin

Do trees protect against extreme weather?

Project leader Prof. Dr. Pierre Ibisch sums up: “The conclusion is that in the case of climate change, forest managers have a certain control over how much the forests entrusted to them are heated up and possibly damaged as a result. Higher biomass stocks and a closed roof are an insurance against extreme weather. “

The article also discusses and questions the hitherto common silvicultural recommendations for promoting thinning. With dilution, water losses and the risk of heat damage increase. The authors recommend keeping the tree canopy as closed as possible (at least 80%) and using the forests accordingly carefully. In addition, they confirm the well-known demand to develop the simply structured conifer monocultures as quickly as possible into structurally rich mixed deciduous forests.

CO2 cools the planet?

What the scientists are addressing, however, is the influence of CO2 on forest growth: more CO2 means more tree growth, which leads to cooling.

Original press release here.

Original study: Blumroeder, Jeanette S., Felix May, Werner Härdtle and Pierre L. Ibisch (2021) In the extreme summers of 2018 and 2019, forestry contributed to the warming of forest ecosystems in northern Germany. Ecological solutions and evidence. DOI 10.1002 / 2688-8319.12087. Link to the article and the journal.


Jeanette Silvin Blumröder & Prof. Dr. Pierre L. Ibisch
Center for Economics and Ecosystem Management, University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde

Dr. Felix May
Working group Theoretical Biology, Institute for Biology, Free University of Berlin

Prof. Dr. Werner Härdtle
Institute for Ecology, Leuphana University Lüneburg

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