Overlooked rainfall and cooling effects of forests

0ac89c76a8436897c77ae66b1009a8c1What would have seemed obvious from the start — that lush green forests that cover the earth absorb the heat of the sun and thereby cool the earth — has now been confirmed by scientists.

The conventional wisdom has been that forests and trees were seen mostly as carbon stocks and carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide in the environment emitted mostly from fossil fuel. Forests function like the lungs of the human body — they purify the air and exchange carbon for oxygen.

“Forest cover is a big contribution to carbon sequestration, and will help increase Asia Pacific’s contribution to tackling climate change,” says the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Asia-Pacific’s forest cover has increased by 24 million hectares over 20 years, while the world’s forests diminished by 130 million hectares.

A new school of thought regarding the role of forests in the scheme of things, however, is being proposed as the world celebrated International Day of Forests (21 March) and World Water Day (22 March).

Read the full article in SciDev

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