Climate change is shrinking big trees, old-growth forests

• January 26, 2012
A Sitka spruce tree on Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Creative Commons: Myles Green, 2009

Already on the decline worldwide, big trees face a dire future due to habitat fragmentation, selective harvesting by loggers, exotic invaders, and the effects of climate change, warns an article published this week inNew Scientistmagazine.

Reviewing research from forests around the world, William F. Laurance, an ecologist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, provides evidence of decline among the world’s “biggest and most magnificent” trees and details the range of threats they face. He says their demise will have substantial impacts on biodiversity and forest ecology, while worsening climate change.

“To persist, big trees need a safe place to live and long periods of stability,” he told mongabay.com via email. “But time and stability are becoming very rare commodities in our modern world.”

Giant trees offer critical habitat and forage for wildlife, while transpiring massive amounts of water through their leaves, contributing to local rainfall. Old trees also lock up massive amounts of carbon — in some forests they can account for up to a quarter of living biomass.

Read more: MongaBay >>


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TckTckTck is the online hub for the Global Call for Climate Action. The GCCA represents an unprecedented alliance of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change.

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