Forests play a large and important role, purify the air and water, affect air quality, prevent soil erosion and landslides, and mitigate the harmful effects of the greenhouse effect. They are one of the most complex ecosystems on earth, they are of great importance for biodiversity, they are a habitat for many species of animals and plants.
However, instead of preserving them, and enlarging the areas under the forest, because that is very important for the preservation of the environment, people around the world are destroying the “lungs” of the planet by unplanned logging. And as if that wasn’t enough, climate change is greatly affecting forests and they are exposed to dangers such as fires, wind gusts and pests.
According to the data from the study of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, more than 60 percent of forest biomass, ie 33.4 billion tons, are exposed to the risks that arise due to climate change.
Namely, scientists analyzed satellite data from 1979 to 2018 and defined vulnerability as the share of biomass that is potentially lost when forests are affected by natural disturbances. The results show that losses due to exposure to wind increased by 40 percent, when it comes to fires it is 34 percent, and pests 26 percent.
Scientists have learned that the risk of pests has increased in this period, especially in areas where heating is increasing.
Dense forests are less endangered than those with a higher share of biomass. Research has shown that droughts and high temperatures affect the fact that plants are less resistant to pest attacks and that this environment is suitable for the reproduction of these animals.
Droughts, high temperatures and dense “old” forests are the places where fires most often occur. While areas with cold climates and their forest areas are places where wind damage is very visible. As experts explain, this is due to weaker rooting of trees. Climate change is greatly affecting the most complex ecosystems, the fight is yet to come and we must do everything in our power to protect the planet.