AP Photo/Olivier Asselin - Visitors walking along a series of bridges suspended some 100 feet in the air over the treetops in Kakum National Park, Ghana, August 24, 2008.
The world’s forests do more in tackling the climate crisis than previously thought, a new study found, by keeping the air cool and moist due to how they transform energy and water.
It is well established that the role of forests is to store carbon, but new data suggests that they are far more beneficial for our climate, The Guardian reported.
Researchers from the United States and Colombia found that forests keep the planet at least 33 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, particularly those spanning Latin America, central Africa, and Southeast Asia.
In the tropics – from Brazil and Guatemala to Chad, Cameroon, and Indonesia – forests cool the environment by more than 33 degrees, according to The Unseen Effects of Deforestation: Biophysical Effects on Climate.
New study examining forests' impacts beyond sequestering carbon. Scientists concluded that 65% of the world's forests, between lat. 50 degrees N & 50 degrees S, provide net global cooling & regulate the local climate from extreme temps.— Friends of the Clearwater (@wildclearwater) March 25, 2022
Forests are cool.https://t.co/yILJdJ2m4O
“Trees are still viewed just as sticks of carbon by many policymakers in the climate change arena,” said study co-author Louis Verchot, a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
“Forests are key to mitigation, but also adaptation.”
Forest cooling is due to a range of biophysical and biochemical factors, including deep roots, efficient water use, and so-called canopy roughness that all mitigate the impact of extreme heat, The Guardian reported.
“Without the forest cover we have now, the planet would be hotter and the weather more extreme,” said study co-author Michael Coe.
“Forests provide us defense against the worst-case global warming scenarios.”