Deforestation has a major impact on global warming as the destruction of trees and plants stops them from absorbing harmful gases like carbon dioxide.
As stated therein World Wildlife Fund15 billion trees are cut down every year to meet global demand for meat, soy and palm oil.
But a 2021 study found that if forests are left alone to grow and thrive, forest regeneration can occur with unexpectedly quick recovery times.
Research and abstracts published in the journal Science Anthropocene He sought to see how old forests that had been converted to pasture and farmland could recover and how quickly the process could be achieved.
A total of 77 different sites at different stages of growth were studied simultaneously, including wet and dry forests in Central and South America and coastal West Africa.
Incredibly, after one to nine years, these sites were able to achieve 90% of the carbon, nitrogen and soil density found in untouched forests.
Also, tree leaf size, tree density, and number of nitrogen-fixing trees took three to 27 years to return to old growth levels.
Clemson University ecologist Sarah DeWalt noted that natural regeneration of forests is the most efficient way to do things, both environmentally and economically. „Nature will take care of it if we let it,” he said.
However, the researcher also noted that there will be times when intervention is needed.
„If there’s no source of seeds, very degraded soil and no way for animals to get there, that’s going to be a problem,” he said. said. „There will be times when surgery is needed.”
While this has largely spurred research, it has brought some more troubling findings. For example, it took 12 decades for species found in old-growth tropical forests to return to new-growth areas.
However, the fact that once-important forests are returning faster than expected is welcome news for biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
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