Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

Tropical Forests Face Climate Change Risk

Tree frog in rain forest

Reevese/Shutterstock.com

Tropical forests remove and absorb carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, and researchers estimate that despite current deforestation levels, they still hold more carbon than civilization has generated by burning coal, oil and natural gas over the past 30 years. But as trees stressed by heat and drought due to global warming die and release their carbon, their ability to act as reservoirs will diminish. A global team of more than 200 researchers led by tropical ecologist Oliver Phillips, of Leeds University, measured more than half a million trees in 813 forests in 24 countries to calculate how much carbon the different forests now store, based on the height, diameter and species of each tree. Their research, published in Science, also looked at how carbon storage varied from place to place using data from 590 long-term monitoring plots. If warming reaches 2° C above preindustrial levels, the study found huge swaths of the world’s tropical forests will begin to lose more carbon than they accumulate. Already, the hottest forests in South America have reached that point.
Upcoming Events Near You
Digital Issue
#SupportLocal
Healthy Ways To Spend Time At Home
Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
Like Us On Facebook!