Increasing wildfires and logging is causing a devastating impact on the planet’s large forests. Previously known to be carbon sinks, these forests are now becoming one of the greatest carbon emitters, and a threat to the accelerating changes in the climate.
The severity of the climate crisis is furthered, as plants and trees previously considered to be vital in curbing climate change, are now struggling to absorb and store the same levels of carbon dioxide than they emit. Countries including the United States, Australia, Indonesia and Russia, are home to a few of the major forests considered to be a grave cause for concern.
Over the course of the last few centuries, forests have been known to store over 13 billion tons of carbon dioxide – a number that is now, according to satellite data, rapidly decreasing. Ten UNESCO-protected forests have currently been identified as severe threats to the carbon emission levels, however, on-ground monitoring, supplemented with satellite data, suspects many other forests to be on the same trajectory.
Forests around the world continue to serve as a vital tool for overcoming the impact of the rapidly changing climate, however, increased human activity such as ground incursions coupled with varying temperatures and droughts, prove to be reasons of concern.
David Kaimowitz, a forest director at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Reuters that “this is one more clear sign that even forests we traditionally assumed to be safe are now under increasing threat.”