A new report by Friends of the Earth International looks at how forests regulate the climate and how the climate affects forests.
The report, written by Ronnie Hall, refers to a considerable body of scientific research and “serves as a call to action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, address the drivers of deforestation by slashing consumption, end trade and investment liberalisation that fuel deforestation, reject monoculture tree plantations and recognise land rights among other preliminary demands to ramp up the pressure on governments on both climate and forest-related decision making,” says FoEI. Download the report here (pdf document, 1.1 MB).
The report notes that intact old growth forest stores “significantly greater quantities of carbon than either plantations or logged forests” and points out the urgency of revising FAO’s definition of forests in order to exclude plantations. It notes the importance of protecting forest soils, especially peatlands and taking carbon losses from forest soils into account when calculating the climate impacts of deforestation. “Stopping deforestation on peatlands is an absolute priority,” states the report.
The report looks at the way forest fires are increasing and recommends that “Governments need to finance and otherwise resource a global forest-fire fighting effort, to assist those countries unable to prevent or stop the resulting out-of-control forest wildfires.”
The report concludes that “the destruction of forests is likely to cause significant changes to weather and the climate, both regionally and globally; and thus to ecosystems and food production.” In turn forest ecosystems will be impacted by changing temperatures, CO2 concentrations, rainfall, growing seasons, patterns of insect and pathogen pest damage, extreme weather events and freeze-thaw patterns.