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Burned forests do not grow back

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Trees do not grow back in burnt forests. This strange event is more and more frequent as global warming transforms the verdant flora into flammable tinder, causing more and more wild forest fires.

This article will examine the science behind the failure of trees to regrow in burnt forests. Additionally, and as a collateral issue, this puts one more distorted face on the consequent impact of the multibillion dollar enterprise called “woody biomass,” which burns trees instead of charcoal to meet protocols. carbon neutral.

Consequently, between the double impact of burnt forests which do not grow back and woody biomass cutting down mature trees which are powerful carbon sinks replaced by fragile seedlings, we must question the capacity of “carbon sinks” of nature. Is it shrinking just when it’s needed like never before?

Woody biomass is as bad, if not worse, than burning coal. (See – The Woody Biomass Blunder, November 15, 2021)

Regarding the efficiency of CO2 uptake by commercial tree plantations used to produce wood chips for sale on the international woody biomass market: area, but taking into account clearing for planting the crop and frequent harvesting of trees, and such plantings can actually release more carbon than they sequester, ”Simon Lewis, Forest Ecologist / University College London (Source: Why Planting Tons of Trees Isn’t Enough to Solve climate change, Science News, July 9, 2021)

There are several studies and statements by outspoken scientists on woody biomass emitting more CO2 than burning coal. Yet in order to meet carbon neutral standards, 60% of the EU’s renewable energy comes from wood chips. Someone in the EU is hello.

Failed tree regrowth

A study from the University of Colorado / Boulder shows that when forests burn in significant parts of the Rocky Mountains, the forests do not grow back, even after 15 years after the fire, 80% of the plots studied did not contain any new trees. (Source: Lisa Marshall, Forests Burned By Wildfire Unlikely to Recover, Possible Conversion to Grasslands, CU Boulder Today, August 25, 2020)

The study looked at 22 separate burned areas from southern Wyoming to central / western Colorado to northern New Mexico. The study included areas that had burned as long as 1988, including land ravaged by the Hayman fire in 2002 near Colorado Springs; the 1996 Buffalo Creek fire southwest of Denver; the El Dorado Springs and Walker Ranch fires in 2000 near Boulder; and the 2002 Missionary Ridge fire outside of Durango.

“This study and others clearly show that the resilience of our forests to fire has dramatically decreased under warmer and drier conditions,” co-author Tom Veblen, professor of geography, CU Boulder, Ibid.

Global warming has helped double the number of hectares burned across the country since the 1990s.

Rising global temperature is wiping out seedlings, especially in the western United States where summer temperatures have risen so much that young trees lack the opportunity to develop thick protective bark, and failure to Regrowth in dry conditions finds seedlings shriveling before the roots can grow deep enough to reach groundwater.

Anthropogenic global warming inhibits and / or destroys one of the most important and best natural solutions to combat CO2 emissions. And, even worse, humans cut down trees to burn them for energy, releasing years and years of CO2 stored from trees into the atmosphere.

Global warming is devastating forests around the world.

“New studies show that drought and heat waves will cause massive deaths, killing most living trees today.” (Source: We Must Hear Those Poor Trees Screaming: Uncontrolled Global Warming Means Big Problems For Forests, Inside Climate News, April 25, 2020)

According to Bill Anderegg, a forestry researcher at the University of Utah: “Global warming has pushed many of the world’s forests to the extreme… in the West, you can’t drive on a mountain highway without seeing how global warming affects forests, ”Idem.

The giant sequoias, the grandfather of the world’s trees are “dying from top to bottom”. This has never been documented before. According to Christy Brigham, head of resource management for national parks: “We’ve never seen this before. (Source: Craig Welch, The World’s Big Old Trees Are Dying, Leaving Forests Younger and Shorter, National Geographic, May 28, 2020)

According to the National Geographic article: The loss of giant sequoias is just one example of a disturbing global trend: “Forest trees are dying at increasing rates, especially larger and larger trees. aged ”, Ibid.

Nate McDowell, a geologist at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and lead author of a major global study on tree loss, says, “We see it almost everywhere we look. (Nate G. McDowell, et al, Pervasive Shifts in Forest Dynamics in a Changing World, Science, Vol. 268, Number 6494, May 29, 2020)

The numbers are staggering: from 1900 to 2015, the world lost more than a third of its ancient forests. Since then, the numbers have accelerated. The causes are mostly anthropogenic, i.e. logging and land clearing, as well as fossil fuel emissions that lead to rising global temperatures that dramatically amplifies the death rate, as droughts s ‘spread longer and harder, resulting in extremely brittle tinder, resulting in massive forest fires. The result is a world on fire like never before, as dead trees burn quickly and easily.

According to Henrik Hartmann of the German Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, in Central Europe: “You don’t have to look for dead trees… They are everywhere”, Ibid.

Africa and South America are also bearing the brunt of massive tree deaths. Global warming has brought severe drought conditions, repeating itself in increasingly shorter time sequences that do not leave nature enough time to revive, grow back, survive.

The recent fires in Siberia are of Biblical magnitude and intensity. A June 2020 article in SciTechDaily headlined: “Meteorologists shocked as heat and fire scorch Siberia.” Half of massive fires are peatlands which, when ignited, can burn almost forever if the heat is intense enough, which was / is, emitting both CO2 and CH4.

The CO2 cycle at work

With the curse of CO2 blanketing the atmosphere and trapping heat, as the planet gets hotter and hotter, the atmosphere sucks in excessive levels of moisture, causing trees to lose their leaves and / or shut down. pores to retain as much moisture as possible. This, in turn, reduces the absorption of CO2. It is a vicious circle that hinders the carbon absorption cycle which is the key to maintaining an ecological balance for the planet.

Ultimately, “Forests are our last and best natural defense against global warming. Without the trees of the world in great physical shape, the rest of us don’t stand a chance. (Eric Holthaus, Up in Smoke, Grist, March 8, 2018)


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