The guardian reports that "Simon Lewis, a climate expert at the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: "We are receiving a free subsidy from nature. Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of change.""
Lewis adds that another conclusion from the study is that on average the trees are getting bigger - compared to the 1960s, each hectare of intact African forest has trapped an extra 0.6 tonnes of carbon a year. And it adds up - over the world's tropical forests, this extra "carbon sink" effect adds up to 4.8bn tonnes of carbon dioxide removed each year - close to the total carbon dioxide emissions from the US.
Another interesting quote on the article is of David Ritter, senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace UK, who is quoted as follows: "This research reveals how these rainforests are providing a huge service to mankind by absorbing carbon dioxide from our factories, power stations and cars."
We definitely agree with him. Moreover, we know that trees have many other qualities that benefit both the environment and local communities in these areas (you can read more about it on our benefits page). In any event, since fighting global warming is at the top of the world's priorities it's important to establish again the important role of trees in this fight as does this new study.
Raz @ Eco-Libris