Forests and climate change

The destruction of forests adds almost 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmoshpere per year. To avoid the release of carbon stored in forests, therefore, not only forest destruction should be prevented but also afforestation actions should be undertaken in areas not covered by forests, which means planting new plants in areas where there have never been any and provide for reforestation, which implies planting trees in deforested areas. In tropical areas, vegetation grows much more rapidly and for this reason growth removes carbon from the atmosphere at a quicker pace. Planting trees in tropical forests can remove great carbon quantities from the atmoshpere in relatively short time.
Tropical forests can store in their biomass and wood up to 15 tons of carbon per hectare every year. According to a FAO report, lowering deforestation and increasing forest regrowth, agri-silviculture and forest settlements, over the coming 50 years could compensate around 15% of carbon emissions generated by fossil fuels. According to a 2011 NASA research, the Amazon forest plays an absolutely primary role for the environmental clean up to remove carbon from the atmosphere: 49% of the absorption of carbon dioxide occurs in the forests of Latin America. Brazil alone, provides for a storage of CO2 equivalent to almost 61 billion tons (almost equivalento to 62 million tons of CO2 stored in all of Sub-Saharan Africa). The forests of the 75 nations studied in the report, on the whole, contain 247 billion tons of CO2, an enormous value when considering that current global CO2 emissions caused by men are equivelaent to about 10 million tons of carbon dioxide. These figures clearly show the reason why deforestation is an incredibly serious phenomenon for the health status of the planet and can contribute to generate even from 15 to 20% of total emissions produced by men.
Also timber, which is employed for buildings or furniture, is a carbon reservoir. Building materials used as an alternative to timber as plastic materials, aluminium and cement, require great quantity of fossil fuels for their processing. For this reason, substituting these building materials with timber and employing wood fuels as an alternative to petroleum, coal and natural gas effectively contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide. Even if, during combustion, firewood and forest biomasses release stored carbon dioxide in the air, if they come from forests which are managed sustainably, emissions can be compensated by reforestation.

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