Trees are the great fighters of global warming. And the older they are, the stronger they are. However, a study recently published in the scientific journal Ecological solutions and proofs have shown that trees are able to store much more carbon than previously thought.
The research team mapped 1,000 trees in Wytham Woods, a temperate forest containing over 400 hectares of scientific interest located northwest of Oxford in Oxfordshire, UK.
The mapping was carried out on a determined number of trees, in order to calculate precisely the quantity of carbon that the trees of the temperate forests could store, and the environmental cost to be paid for the loss of these trees.
The method used to perform these calculations is also innovative: the study used 3D scanning techniques to measure the volume of each tree and, based on this, measure the amount of carbon that the trunk and branches of each tree can capture. . Previously, to make such calculations, the tree had to be felled.
Calculations revealed that we had underestimated the carbon sequestration potential of temperate forest trees.
Capturing carbon against global warming
For every square kilometer of forest cleared, “we potentially lose almost twice as much carbon sequestration capacity as we thought. This has serious implications for our understanding of the benefits of climate change in protecting trees,” says Mathias Disney, a professor at University College London and a member of the research team.
In addition to important ecosystems, healthy forests remove carbon dioxide, CO2, one of the greenhouse gases that causes global warming from the atmosphere.
And the older the trees, the better. According to the study, it is very difficult to replace the complex structure of old trees with young trees.
“The value of large mature trees is almost incalculable, so losing them must be avoided at all costs, no matter how many trees you plan to plant,” says Professor Mathias.
To European politicians who care so much about our rainforests, a word of warning: they too have important forests to manage. Look at their deforestation there:
By Daya Florios. Article in Portuguese