Reporter 425, 19 October 1998

Trees keep us cool

Tropical rain forests may play a vital role in keeping global warming under control according to a researcher in the School of Geography.

A paper co-written by Oliver Phillips and recently published in Science suggests that mature forests in Central and South America reduce the amount of carbon dioxide finding its way into the atmosphere by acting as a ‘sink’ to retain the greenhouse gas.

The importance of rain forests in limiting climate change and the subsequent results of deforestation, are a hot topic among environmentalists. This 20 year study showed that each hectare of forest accumulates up to a ton of carbon over a year, but the researchers caution this could be limited or even reversed by continued deforestation and logging.

The research team included scientists from all over the world, including Brazil, Peru and the United States.

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