A future without trees?

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Photo: Gemini Research News/Colourbox.

How would our world be affected if there were no trees? The thought of it might sound strange, but it is sadly not far from the truth: Deforestation is on its way, and it may lead to dramatic climate change.

We are all aware that our environment is endangered. For years, there has been a focus on extreme weather, pollution, and sustainable solutions to prevent further damage to our planet. However, as our growing population require more food production, larger areas are needed to produce agricultural products. How bad can the climate be affected by deforestation? A team of Norwegian and German researchers have studied how extreme it can turn out.

The researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Justus-Liebig University Giessen in Germany, used a regional climate model to see how much the European landscape can change if Europe was to be completely deforested. They found out that the changes in land use in Europe could affect both the air temperature and rainfall. While some regions could get cooler, others would be warmer. Also, deforestation tends to increase local temperatures in the summer, and increasing the frequency of extreme hot days.

“Decisions regarding land uses are frequently taken at a subnational level by regional authorities, and regional projections of temperature and precipitation effects of land cover changes can help to maximize possible synergies of climate mitigation and adaptation policies, from the local to the global scale,” said Francesco Cherubini, a professor at NTNU that is taking part in the study.

Find more about the results on Gemini Research News.