Forests threatened by climate change

An Indonesian study has found that forests worldwide are extremely vulnerable to damage from floods and wildfires caused by climate change, Reuters reported. The study, by the Jakarta-based Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), urged delegates at the upcoming United Nations climate meeting in Poznan, Poland to decide on new methods to protect forests in developing nations and to take action to aid the millions of poor people who depend on forests for their livelihoods.


The report indicates that global warming could bring effects including making fires more frequent in the dryer cloud forests in the mountainous regions of Central America and causing flooding in mangroves in Asia as seas rise. People who rely on forests for food, building materials and medicines would need aid to adapt to changing conditions. Possible solutions to be discussed at the UN climate talks in Poland include paying poor people to preserve tropical forests.


"Unless immediate action is taken, climate change could have a devastating effect on the world’s forests and the nearly 1 billion people who depend on them for their livelihoods," a statement said. Protection methods include better fire prevention, selecting tree species in plantations better adapted to a changing climate, keeping out non-native insects and preserving forest corridors to help animals and plants to migrate when some forest areas were cleared.


The burning of forests — mainly to clear farmland — releases an estimated 20% of the greenhouse gases from human activities blamed for climate change.



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