Planting Trees Affect on Climate Change

A new report from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory suggests that planting a tree does not always provide the climate benefits some might expect. The primary point of the article demonstrates that there are no easy solutions and we need to change the status quo more dramatically then simply planting trees. However, as we have seen in previous posts (here, here, here…and more) planting trees as an offsetting strategy or a carbon sink is a contentious issue. Click through for a quick review of what the science is telling us.The new model shows that trees planted in the northern climates may actually increase local warming by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, temperate forests have no net impact, and tropical forests are still the favorite carbon-sequestering environment. While this is an interesting result, it is important to keep in mind the more complex interactions trees and forests have with their environment. Just recently, a report in the prestigious peer reviewed journal 'Science’ demonstrated that temperate forests are better long term carbon sinks then anyone had previously thought. The waxy carbon of the plants is maintained in the forests soil for 10,000 to 100,000 years. That is a large carbon sink.

Planting trees today might not have a large short-term effect on reducing greenhouse gas, as recent evidence suggests, we are experiencing accelerating CO2 emissions despite current strategies. But, a healthy ecosystem, including forest canopy, may provide other benefits, such as long term carbon sinks in the soil. There is no single solution to global warming. Increasingly it appears that planting trees is not a good strategy to offset carbon emission within a relevant period of time. The environmental benefits of trees are manifold, but they are only human plants- they can’t do everything. :: Lawrence Livermore ::Science Daily