Basically deforestation emits 20 percent of the world's carbon dioxide when people cut and burn trees, but standing forests soak up 25 percent of the emissions. According to the story on Reuters, if the Earth heats up 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees F) or more, evaporation from the additional heat would lead to severe droughts and heat waves that could kill wide swaths of trees in the tropics of Africa, southern Asia and South America. Another effect will be that emissions from the rotting trees would make forests a source of global warming.

This treat is not theoretically at all - "If temperatures are growing at the current pace definitely this would happen at the end of this century or before," said Risto Seppala, chair of a report by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), a nonprofit network of scientists that conducted the report.

Another impact the research found is that cold-clime boreal forests stretching across vast expanses of Russia, northern Europe, Canada and Alaska are set to expand rapidly as climate change kicks in. But while this may sounds like good news, it is not likely to help curb global warming, it said.

“One might assume with the increasing growth in boreal forests that more carbon would be taken up by forest ecosystems and removed from the atmosphere,” said Alexander Buck, IUFRO’s deputy director and coordinator of the report. “But these positive effects will be clearly outweighed by the negative impacts on forest ecosystems.”

So what's the bottom line? stop fighting deforestation? Nay. This is defenitely not the right conclusion as some 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles) disappear every year, which results in nearly 20 percent of the total carbon emissions.

My conclusion is that we need to double and triple the efforts to fight global warming - even if the end of the century may not be during the lifetime of most of us, we definitely owe it to our children and grandchildren! There's no reason they'll inherit a planet in a much worst condition than the one we inherited from our parents and grandparents.

Raz @ Eco-Libris