Home / Press Release / “Wrong trees” planted in Europe worsened climate change, says study

“Wrong trees” planted in Europe worsened climate change, says study

A new study has challenged the assumption of the positive impact of planting trees on climate change. In most cases, we all have learned that growing more trees would help reduce climate change, but growing the “wrong tree” isn’t, says a new research.

According to the study, the wrong type of tree planting activities in the European forests since 1750 has impacted negatively on the global phenomenon of climate change, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise further. The reason for this is said to be the planting of dark green coniferous trees, instead of lighter-colored trees with larger leaves.

According to the reports, the European continent is in number one position to recover the forest land by planting trees since the end of the industrial revolution from 1850. The continent has seen a massive decrease of green canopy in the period between 1750 to 1850 due to the industrial revolution, and during that time the continent’s forest area diminished by 190,000 sq km. Since 1850, the greater use of fossil fuels such as coal has helped to reduce the timber rush, hence, to regain the 10 percent of forest land.

“Even well managed forests today store less carbon than their natural counterparts in 1750,” said Dr Kim Naudts who carried out the study while at the Laboratory of Climate Science and Environment in Gif-sur-Yvette, France. She says, “Due to the shift to conifer species, there was a warming over Europe of almost 0.12 degrees and that is caused because the conifers are darker and absorb more solar radiation.”

Scientists believe that the commercially valuable Scot pines, Norway spruces and other coniferous trees with dark leaves in Europe have not reflected back the sun’s radiation, instead it trapped the sun resulting in slightly warmer temperatures since the inception. Researchers have also noted that the trees like oak and birch with large and light-colored leaves reflect the sun’s radiation and send back to space, to reduce the high temperature trapped on the Earth’s surface. The report has also mentioned that the trees in the European forests absorb less carbon dioxide from the environment. Furthermore, they have insisted on considering the color of trees, subsequent moisture and soil changes during mankind’s war against global warming.

“Two and a half centuries of forest management in Europe have not cooled the climate,” the authors wrote. “The political imperative to mitigate climate change through afforestation and forest management therefore risks failure, unless it is recognized that not all forestry contributes to climate change mitigation.”

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