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Side-effects of expanding forests could limit their potential to tackle climate change

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A recent study utilizing Earth system models has found that expanding forests, while beneficial for removing atmospheric carbon dioxide, can also have counterproductive effects
• These include changes to other greenhouse gasses and the land's reflectivity, which could limit forests' potential in combating climate change

🔭 The context: The study, conducted by researchers James Weber and James A. King, emphasizes that forestation should be integrated with other climate change mitigation strategies, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to be more effective
• It highlights that relying solely on forestation is insufficient for meeting climate goals

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Forestation's role in climate change mitigation is complex, with potential negative side-effects on the climate system
• These findings underscore the importance of including sustainable forestation practices that contribute to biodiversity, soil protection, and flood mitigation

⏭️ What's next: The study suggests the need for further research into the local temperature impacts of forestation and the effects of changes in wildfire pattern
• It calls for detailed examination of climate mitigation strategies to navigate the complexities of Earth's systems

📈 One stat: Up to 30% of the carbon dioxide removal benefit of forestation could be negated by its side-effects in scenarios where climate mitigation is not prioritized, dropping to 15% in scenarios compatible with the Paris Agreement

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