Forests, once thought to be the most crucial resources on our planet, are now suffering the effects of climate change. Because forests are able to capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, their role in regulating the world’s climate is becoming increasingly important during periods of increased global warming and climate change. This article will detail the current impacts of climate change on the world’s forests, as well as discuss how we can work towards solving this increasing problem.
Forests help regulate climate by providing a habitat for microorganisms that help fertilize the soil and sequester carbon dioxide. But deforestation threatens these benefits as well as forest ecosystems. According to reports from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), if we continue to deforest at our current rate, these ecosystems will be negatively affected and we could see profound changes in global climate—including more droughts, fires, and floods—by 2050.
Effects on Forests
Forests play a huge role in regulating climate and it is no coincidence that periods of increased global warming and climate change tend to coincide with increased levels of deforestation around the globe. Deforestation reduces trees’ abilities to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, which leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions, more extreme weather events, changes in rainfall patterns, and greater vulnerability to soil erosion.
Effects on Animal Species
The climate is warming and changing; what does that mean for animals who live in these regions? Climate change is affecting populations of insects, reptiles, birds, fish, mammals, and amphibians. The following species have been most affected: wolves (and other canids), polar bears, penguins, butterflies (and other insects), frogs (and other amphibians), walruses, lions (and other big cats), whales (and dolphins).
There is a multitude of different factors that have been cited as reasons for increased global warming, and thus, global forest loss. Some of these reasons include more frequent instances of extreme weather such as droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes; deforestation in areas like Canada, Russia, and even Brazil; emissions from factories, cars, and planes; and an overall rise in temperature across Earth that has occurred since 1850.
How We Can Tackle Climate Change
Many people believe there is no way to avoid contributing to global warming, but it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many simple ways you can work to reduce emissions and prevent further environmental damage from occurring. A few examples include: buying green power or making a monthly donation to offset your carbon output, installing solar panels on your roof, growing trees in your yard, and cycling rather than driving where possible.
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