We’ve known for a long while now how pressing an issue global warming is, but not much has really been done about it. Few places actually tried to combat the effects of our increasingly severe fossil fuel issues, but those that attempted it apparently did just the opposite. According to a new study from France, Europe planting dark trees increased global warming.
Europe’s planting the wrong trees?
In the face of global warming, not all trees are created equal. Some, actually, may do more harm than good, according to a new study published in the journal Science by a team of researchers from France’s Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement.
Despite Europe having planted enough forests to expand their total forested areas by 10% since 1750, they kind of did the opposite of what was expected of them – European summer temperatures have increased by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.12 degrees Celsius.
This comes as a contradiction to the idea that planting more trees would help with slowing down climate change, but there is a pretty good explanation for it, despite it lacking the convincing value needed.
Apparently, the reason behind the trees in Europe doing the opposite of what they were planted to do is because of the type of trees they are. No, they’re not just jerks doing the opposite of what is expected of them, but apparently Europeans went with the wrong type of tree.
It’s not all about the carbon
Europe has been planting huge amounts of dark trees, such as conifers. Spruces, pines, and whatnot may be easier to plant, faster to grow, and are used for pretty much anything, but their dark bark and needle-y leaves actually cause the trees to trap the Sun’s heat.
Sure, the oxygen levels are off the charts in the European forested areas, but the trees’ ability to absorb the greenhouse gasses responsible for global warming has severely decreased. According to the study’s lead author, managing a forest isn’t all about the carbon – people should also take into account the forest’s soils, moisture levels, as well as the color and leaf type of the trees.
Other, lighter barked trees such as birches or oaks, despite having a harder time growing and having fewer overall uses, are far better at reflecting sunlight, and have the broader leaves necessary for a better greenhouse gas absorption and oxygen production.
The researchers also warn that the case might be the same for other areas with the same types of trees, such as Russia, China, and even the United States.
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