Unlocking the potential of forests to limit climate change
June 12, 2008
Understanding the complex interactions between forests and climate may “unlock the potential of forests to limit global climate change,” argues a researcher writing in the journal Science.
In a review to be published Friday, Gordon B. Bonan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research discusses feedback mechanisms between forests and climate — the carbon cycle (photosynthesis and respiration), the water cycle (evapotranspiration), surface energy fluxes (albedo), and vegetation dynamics — as well as human alteration of the biosphere. Improved modeling of these interactions will aid in the development of land use policies to mitigate climate change.
“These policies must recognize the multitude of forest influences, their competing effects on climate, their different spatial and temporal scales, and their long-term effectiveness and sustainability in a changing climate,” Bonan writes. “The interrelatedness of climate change science, climate impacts on ecosystems, and climate change mitigation policy requires that these be studied together in an interdisciplinary framework to craft strong science in the service of humankind.”
Gordon B. Bonan (2008). Forests and Climate Change: Forcings, Feedbacks, and the Climate Benefits of Forests. 13 JUNE 2008 VOL 320 SCIENCE