Time Ecocentric Blog; 11/16/2011
Excerpt: “Deforestation is a major cause of climate change, responsible for perhaps 15% (PDF) of the world’s overall greenhouse gas pollution. That’s because trees sequester carbon, and when those trees are cut down or burned, they release that carbon back into atmosphere. And as we lose trees, we lose a valuable carbon sink—each year the Amazonian rainforest locks in an estimated 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide, without which we’d be living in a much hotter and less pleasant planet.
So: keep trees standing or even expand existing forests, and you can help stave off climate change. Right? Well, as it so often turns out in climate science, the reality on the ground is much more complicated. A new paper published in the November 17 Nature argues that deforestation actually has a net cooling effect when it’s carried out in the northern latitudes, largely because the open land left after a clearcut reflects sunlight, while dark forested ground tends to absorb solar energy….”
Read complete article at http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/11/16/how-some-deforestation-might-slow-warming/