We have repeatedly mentioned thatGlobal warming is detrimental to forests. The "green lungs of the planet" are suffering from large-scale fires. In addition, droughts lead to the gradual extinction of trees. Their place is taken by more drought-resistant crops - grass and shrubs. If the intensity of fires increases in the future, the planet may lose its forests almost completely, which will lead to an even greater acceleration of global warming. Therefore, scientists are interested in the question - do forests have a future at all? Will they be able to revive after massive fires and extreme weather? The answer to this question is provided by monitoring the forest area that has already survived fires and other cataclysms.
How forests recover after fires
More recently, a piece of land south ofYellowstone National Park was a solid wasteland with burnt pines and other trees. The fire in 2016 covered an area of 85 square kilometers. But five years later, at this place, scientists discovered an encouraging picture - a lot of seedlings and shoots of trees sprouted, which painted the earth bright green. In total, experts counted more than 2,000 young trees on an area equal to half a tennis court.
It would seem that this is good news, which saysthat forests can eventually recover from the worst fires. However, the picture is not so positive in all burnt forests. At a nearby site, Monica Turner, an environmental professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recorded a major landscape change instead of many shoots. The ground was covered with flowers and herbs. Young shoots of trees here are five times less than in other areas. But what does it have to do with it?
The area that has not been restored is alreadyburned down in 2000. From this we can conclude that the forest can recover, but only after one fire that has occurred over several decades. Otherwise, the trees do not have time to mature enough to give the amount of seeds needed to restore.
How global warming affects forests
Forest fires are not the only threat to forests,associated with global warming. According to experts, as a result of rising temperatures, the soil and plants lose moisture. To reduce their water loss during drought, trees close the pores in their leaves (stomata) or even shed their leaves entirely. This in turn limits the CO2 they absorb. As a result, the trees are both “hungry” and parched.
If the soil is too dry, the plants cannotmaintain normal pressure in the internal channels through which moisture enters the leaves. The flow of liquid is interrupted by air bubbles, which leads to the development of a deadly disease for plants, as a result of which they die.
As a result, according to scientists, theFor a decade, trees in many regions of the world have been at the limit of their hydraulic systems. This means that in the event of even hotter and drier weather, they will begin to die en masse. In fact, this process is already underway. For example, Russia in central Siberia has lost more than 800,000 hectares of fir trees due to droughts. In the US state of Texas in 2011, a drought killed more than 300 million trees.
In addition to drought, global warmingcontributes to the spread of deadly forest pests, another dangerous threat. Beetles and moths survive winters more easily or breed more often, which leads to the death of plants. Due to the large number of pests, many plants have already died in Honduras, Algeria and Turkey. In addition, pests threaten the forests of Central Europe.
2018 was the most destructive for the forests of Europea year that brought the worst drought in recent memory that killed a huge number of trees. Surviving plants attracted a lot of pests. Trees in the Czech Republic suffered the most from them. Also, a catastrophic situation has developed in Germany, where more than 300 thousand hectares of forest died from 2018 to 2020. As a result, there are almost no natural forests left in Central Europe.
How forests are adapting to global warming
In addition to the negative news, there are also good ones -carbon dioxide spewing from coal-fired power plants and tailpipes causes forests to rebuild. As greenhouse gases warm the planet, tens of thousands of tree species are moving towards the north pole.
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Alder, willow and dwarf birch spreadthroughout the Arctic, from Scandinavia to Canada, providing shelter and food for hares, elk and other animals. In addition, trees grow faster as they absorb excess CO2, a key ingredient in photosynthesis. This natural “greening” of the planet helps slow climate change.
In addition, it should be noted that the mainThe deforestation factor is still not global warming, but deforestation. This means that the point of no return has not been passed, and the future of forests is in the hands of humanity. Reducing tree cutting, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, will save the “green lungs” of the planet. Finally, we recall that tropical forests are also threatened by hurricanes, as we talked about earlier.