Climate change is changing our forests. Trees are dying at an alarming rate from the burning of fossil fuels. Strategic tree planting is one solution.
As a result, our forests are threatened globally from changing rainfall patterns, hotter summers, colder winters and insect infestations.
Climate change and in particular climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is undoubtedly THE number one issue-facing planet Earth this century. Climate change can be attributed to many factors including the onset of the industrial revolution and the increasing use of fossil fuels the last 200 years. Our exploitation of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas to feed the furnaces of a global industrial complex is changing the planets ability to self regulate temperatures. Governments, especially in the industrialized west where most of the world's fossil fuels are used, need to take action to start reducing dependency on fossil fuels and look at alternatives for energy. Some governments have already begun to focus their efforts reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels by conservation, which is the first step to long-term sustainability.
Climate change may also be part of a natural cycle regulated by changes in the sun every few thousand years or so. Scientists attribute planetary ice ages to the lack of sunspot activity on the sun’s surface. In fact, a low sun spot cycle the last 10 years has coincided with an increase in extreme weather and temperature extremes in many parts of the world.
Climate Change And Our Forests
Climate change is undoubtedly affecting our forests in dramatic ways. Changing climate patterns, hotter summers, warmer winters, insect infestations and changing rainfall patterns are killing millions of trees each year. As more of the planets trees die, they release green house gases into the atmosphere exasperating the problem even further.
Climate Change - Changing Climate Patterns
For the first time since its inception, the USDA has updated its plant growing zones across the country showing a significant Northward movement of warm temperature areas for the growing of plants. The biggest change is around the Great Lakes where plant growing zones have moved North by as much as one state since 1976. This means that a tree like Black Walnut, that prefers a warmer climatic zone will now grow and thrive in some parts of Southern Canada.
Climate Change - Hot Dry Summers
Every year, there are reports of more and more forest fires around the globe, particularly in the Western United States, Australia and Southern Europe in countries like Greece and Spain. Hotter summers are drying out the forests. Forest fires are predicted to burn a half of the world’s trees in the next 50 years. It may seem odd, but forest fires contribute to climate change.
Climate Change - Insect Infestation
A mountain pine beetle infestation has rapidly spread across the Western part of North America due in part to warmer winters. Scientists estimate that 85 percent of the Pine trees will be killed off in the next 10 years making a vast portion of North America susceptible to forest fires. The economic consequences alone have seen a doubling of construction grade lumber due to a shortage of available timber.
Changing Rainfall Patterns
Changing rainfall patterns can turn lush forests turned to sandy deserts. It’s happened before. What is desert today in the Middle East was once covered with Sub Tropical forests, teaming with animals and plants now found much farther south in Eastern Africa. Archeologists believe that when the last of the trees where cut down by the Romans 2,000 years ago, rainfall patterns permanently changed allowing the Sahara desert to expand to 300 times its original size. Today, climatologists predict that wet climates will get wetter and dry climates will become drier. This means there will be a dramatic change in forest tree species across the globe.
Planting A Tree
Simply planting a tree can make a difference with climate change. If every person on the planet would simply begin planting a tree each year, we would begin to start cooling the globe and combat climate change and global warming. Seven billion trees (the population of the planet) would remove 280 trillion tons of carbon from the atmosphere over 40 years.