Instead of consuming the carbon dioxide, the tropical forests in the world have become the emitters of carbon dioxide. The density of tropical forests has decreased which has led to making them a source of carbon dioxide. The scientists have stated that presently, the tropical forests are resulting in a huge amount of carbon dioxide release- even more than all of the trucks and cars combined.
The study claims that the tropical forests are emitting carbon dioxide because of degradation. Going against its role of acting as a guard against the climate change, the tropical forests are capturing lesser carbon than they emit.
The new study, published in Science journal suggests that more than their contribution in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the tropical forests release the gas into it. A major part of the contribution is because of the deforestation that led to forest land being used up for household, road, or other purposes.
Two-thirds of the reason are that of the fall in diversity and number of trees in the leftover forests. The carbon dioxide is stored by the trees in the form of roots, leaves and even stems. When the trees are cut down, the trees that soak up carbon dioxide reduced. The forest degradation is not something humans have paid attention to, unlike deforestation.
Alessandro Baccini is the lead author of the study along with being remote sensing specialist and forest ecologist at Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth. He stated that the degraded forest looks like an ordinary forest apart from the fact that a healthy forest is denser with more carbon biomass.
They collected data from 2003 to 2014 for observing the loss and gain in carbon density. They even found that tropical forests result in more carbon emission than the cars in the US do annually. The result probes for paying more attention to the forests and planting more trees. The study is a step forward in understanding the role of forests in climate control and the need for taking necessary actions for control.
THE BOTTOM LINE
According to the study, instead of being environment-friendly and acting as carbon sinks, the tropical forests contribute to eight percent of the global carbon dioxide emission. The study is based on analysing the data gathered from laser remote sensing technology, satellite imagery and field measurements of twelve years.
The scientists could observe the reasons of forest loss including mortality and tree removal activities on a small scale. The forest degradation is said to be the root cause of the issue.