The importance of forests for our survival

By John Perlin
Canadian Geographic
February 10, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Excerpted from A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization. …An article in Science magazine that appeared in 1990… proved the timber industry’s denigration of old-growth to be wrong. “It has been suggested the CO2 content of the atmosphere could be reduced if slowly growing ‘decadent’ old-growth forests were converted to faster growing, younger, intensely managed forests.” The paper disagreed. …As a consequence, “the conversion of old-growth forests to younger forests has been a source of increasing CO2 over the last century.” Twenty-four years later, scientists learned that old-growth trees not only act as carbon dioxide reservoirs but “actively fix larger amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees”. …Forests do more to keep the Earth temperate than remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Like fans, treetops cause the air surrounding them to circulate to moderate temperatures in their vicinity.

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