General, Research, Technology

Trees emit greenhouse gases and can accelerate global warming

According to the Australian think tankBreakthrough, global warming could destroy humanity by the beginning of 2050. Some environmentalists are firmly convinced that it is possible to slow down the temperature rise in the world by planting several million trees. This idea, for example, is supported by the American blogger Jimmy Donaldson, and even Ilon Musk supported his project for planting six million trees. Only planting such an amount of vegetation can only harm us, because trees emit a lot of nitrous oxide. At least Finnish scientists from the University of Helsinki are sure of this.

According to scientific data, there are about 60,000 species of trees on our planet

The results of scientific work carried out underpatronage of Dr. Katerina Machakova, were published in the publication Nature Communications. Previously, most scientists were convinced that trees were actively involved in reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. Because of this, few could even suggest that plants could also be sources of greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide. The assumption about this was put forward only in 1998 - the researchers found that nitrous oxide formed due to the activity of bacteria may well be released into the earth's atmosphere. And the greenhouse activity of this chemical compound, by the way, is 298 times higher than that of carbon dioxide.

Why do trees need nitrogen?

Nitrogen is essential for properplant growth gas. Almost all trees extract it from the soil, along with other organic substances necessary for their life. Most of the nitrogen eventually returns back to the soil along with fallen leaves and conifer needles, turns into nitrous and passes into the Earth’s atmosphere. Accumulating in the upper layers, gas enhances the greenhouse effect, which gradually raises the temperature of our planet.

Do you know what will happen if a continent-sized forest appears on Earth?

Using the SMEAR Research StationII, scientists have found that the source of nitrous oxide is not only the soil, but also the trees themselves. In particular, we are talking about plants of northern forests and taiga, in which a huge number of firs, pines and birches grow. Especially a lot of nitrous oxide is released during the growing season of plants, that is, during the time when they grow and develop. In winter, the amount of emissions decreases sharply and the trees even begin to absorb greenhouse gases, but this does not reduce their harmfulness - there are still more emissions.

In addition to the SMEAR II station, the researchers used additional equipment

According to scientists, in the short termNitrous oxide emissions from trees can cause climate change in Northern Europe and Asia, including taiga. The fact is that in these areas of the planet a huge number of conifers grows, from which there is a maximum release of nitrous oxide. To find out more precisely how greenhouse gases from trees affect the climate, scientists need to do more research.

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Finally I want to recommend readingan article about what will happen to our planet if there are no trees left on it. In 2019, due to large-scale fires in Siberia, we lost 1.3 million hectares of green forests. So what will become of us if all the trees disappear?