A new report discovers that cutting down forests doesn’t just release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Thus, it appears that cutting down forests directly affects climate, including rainfall pattern changes and temperature increases.
Everyone knows precisely how important tropical forests, such as the Amazon in Brazil, are to minimizing the effects of climate change. These forests store large amounts of carbon. However, this is the first study to find a direct and immediate correlation between forest cutting and climate changes.
The “Effects of Tropical Deforestation on Climate Change and Agriculture” report appeared in Nature Climate Change. It shows that if the Amazon were completely cut down, it would result in rainfall pattern changes in the United States.
Deborah Lawrence, the lead author on the study and a University of Virginia professor of environmental science, explained that deforestation has a much greater effect than carbon dioxide. She explained that forests help to regulate climate in various ways, with CO2 storage being just one of those. The study reveals that deforestation also has other effects on the climate.
The study further showed that deforestation even on a small and localized level can impact climate. Lawrence considered that tropical forest cutting can have an impact to varying degrees, from affecting the local climate to an impact with a global reach.
The report also showed how changes caused by deforestation could impact agricultural production systems, thereby threatening food security in certain areas. Lawrence stated that large scale forest cutting could have a massive effect on agriculture.
According to recent information, approximately 20 percent of the Amazon has undergone deforestation and the effects are obvious. Firstly, there has been a significant decline in forest transpiration. Secondly, there has been a noticeable change in cloud and rain dynamics. Another change, but not the last by any stretch of the imagination, is an increase in the duration of the dry season.
Researchers have stated that warming caused by deforestation can be measured. There are various models that can be used to determine how forests affect climate.