Scientists emphasise importance of studying carbon content of rainforests
According to Eskil Mattsson, research scientist at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, the importance of knowing and efficiently monitoring the carbon content of forests is essential if we are to save them. The main reason for this is linked to maintaining rainforests standing in order to combat climate change.
Mature forests contain and absorb carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere and, additionally, after analysing around 20,000 individual trees the study shows that deforestation is responsible for nearly 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions originating from human activity in Sri Lanka.
Since there are big differences between the amounts of carbon contained in different types of forest, such studies are vital for the functioning of any systems of compensation that might be developed to give sufficient value to trees to halt deforestation from the logging industry or to make way for agriculture. The calculation of specific forests’ carbon content is an art which needs to be refined fast if we are to save the remaining tropical forests as part of the battle against climate change.
“The calculations are important in order to estimate the costs and benefits of reducing deforestation, since the levels of compensation will be based on the amount of carbon in the forest,” says Eskil Mattsson.
Sources: Science Daily and the University of Gothenburg (2012, March 25; “New research can save tropical forests”.