Researchers from the University of Leeds (UK) described the changing role of trees in the mechanism of absorption of carbon dioxide emissions. Global warming has led to an acceleration in the growth of green mass on the planet, but this is not a plus, but a minus, because the new trees have become short-lived. They can no longer be viewed as “storage facilities” for CO2, except in the short term.
Previously, it was believed that warming the climate is beneficial for plants and trees in particular - the more heat, the better they will grow and absorb proportionally more CO2. However, a recent study based on an analysis of 200, 000 trees around the world showed that they not only grow faster, but also die faster. Moreover, often death is sudden and the tree as a whole lives less, which means that there is also less benefit from it.
The main reason for this transformation is the speed of climate change. Slow-growing cold-loving species are too quickly replaced by fast-growing thermophilic ones. However, the evolution of plants does not keep pace with this process, therefore, the mechanisms of immunity and protection are not developed in new trees. They are much more vulnerable to drought or insects, and it becomes especially difficult for them to survive storms, floods and tornadoes, of which more and more, it becomes.
The conclusion made by scientists from Leeds: the forests on the planet will remain and even multiply, but they will become very vulnerable. This will not upset the global balance, but we can no longer rely on trees as a reliable, durable CO2 sink. We need to continue to plant them to combat desertification, soil erosion and for other purposes, but at the same time look for alternative methods to combat emissions into the atmosphere.