Temperate forests vital in fighting climate change

Ancient Forests Found to Be Climate Air Conditioners
Forests.org and Rainforest Portal projects of
Ecological Internet, Inc.

-- Rainforest Portal
http://forests.org/ -- Forests.org

October 31, 2008
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

New research in _Royal Society journal Philosophical
Transactions A_ "suggests that chopping down forests could
accelerate global warming more than was thought, and that
protecting existing trees could be one of the best ways to
tackle the problem." The report quantifies how the release of
the chemical terpene from tree canopies leads to cloud
formation that cools the climate. Given ancient forests'
massive canopies, the findings further clarify intact forest
wildernesses' critical role in maintaining an operable

Much remains to be learned regarding Gaia's workings, forests'
interaction with climate, and the need for ecologically
sufficient policy-making, yet it is gratifying to see formal
science continue to catch up with Ecological Internet's
biocentric campaigns
( http://www.ecoearth.info/campaigns/ ). Given additional
recent scientific findings that old-growth forests continue to
remove atmospheric carbon indefinitely, and primary forests
lose much of their carbon permanently when first logged, there
is no longer any justification for destruction of and forests.
And presenting "sustainable" logging of such sacred and life-
giving primeval treasures as having environmental benefits is
ecologically bereft and criminally negligent (you know who you
are, and we are coming for you).

Through a combination of ecological science and intuition,
Ecological Internet and predecessors have long known that loss
of intact forest habitats is the key cause of climate change,
as well as general biodiversity, ecosystem and biosphere
collapse. We know that ending humanity's cutting and burning
of itself to death is key to our shared survival. In
particular, global ecological sustainability is going to
require giving up timbers accessed from ancient forests, and
restoring old-growth forests worldwide. Ecological Internet is
going to keep on saying this, confronting those that say
otherwise, whatever the costs, because it is the ecological
truth necessary to sustain being.


Chemical released by trees can help cool planet, scientists
Scientists discover cloud-thickening chemicals in trees that
could offer a new weapon in the fight against global warming
Source: Copyright 2008, Guardian
Date: October 31, 2008
Byline: David Adam

Trees could be more important to the Earth's climate than
previously thought, according to a new study that reveals
forests help to block out the sun.

Scientists in the UK and Germany have discovered that trees
release a chemical that thickens clouds above them, which
reflects more sunlight and so cools the Earth. The research
suggests that chopping down forests could accelerate global
warming more than was thought, and that protecting existing
trees could be one of the best ways to tackle the problem.

Dominick Spracklen, of the Institute for Climate and
Atmospheric Science at Leeds University, said: "We think this
could have quite a significant effect. You can think of
forests as climate air conditioners."

The scientists looked at chemicals called terpenes that are
released from boreal forests across northern regions such as
Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. The chemicals give pine
forests their distinctive smell, but their function has
puzzled experts for years. Some believe the trees release them
to communicate, while others say they could offer protection
from air pollution.

The team found the terpenes react in the air to form tiny
particles called aerosols. The particles help turn water
vapour in the atmosphere into clouds.

Spracklen said the team's computer models showed that the pine
particles doubled the thickness of clouds some 1,000m above
the forests, and would reflect an extra 5% sunlight back into

He said: "It might not sound a lot, but that is quite a strong
cooling effect. The climate is such a finely balanced system
that we think this effect is large enough to reduce
temperatures over quite large areas. It gives us another
reason to preserve forests."

The research, which will be published in a special edition of
the Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions A, is the
first to quantify the cooling effect of the released
chemicals. The scientists say the findings "must be included
in climate models in order to make realistic predictions".

Because trees release more terpenes in warmer weather, the
discovery suggests that forests could act as a negative
feedback on climate, to dampen future temperature rise. The
team looked at forests of mainly pine and spruce trees, but
Spracklen said other trees also produce terpenes so the
cooling effect should be found in other regions, including
tropical rainforests.


Doug said…
Here is a slide show clarifying many misconceptions about forests, logging, and carbon:
(For full effect click "full" in the lower right.)

Here is a more detailed foot-noted report on forests, carbon and climate change:

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