Deforestation: It implies the long term permanent loss of forest cover and implies transformation into another land use. Such a loss can only be caused and maintained by a continued human-induced or natural perturbation (FAO, 2001).
Forest degradation: The long term reduction of the overall potential supply of benefits from the forest, which includes carbon, wood, biodiversity and other goods and services (FAO, 2003).
Climate change: It refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use (IPCC, 2001).
Effects of deforestation and degradation on Climate change
Forests have a vital role to play in the fight against global warming. Forests absorb and store carbon in their trees and soil. But if forests are cleared or disturbed, this carbon is released as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. “Up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation” (WWF Scotland, 2008).
Importance of forests in climate change
Each year, mature and growing forests store a quarter of total anthropogenic emissions into their wood and soils. Logging is so bad for the climate is that when trees are felled they release the carbon they are storing into the atmosphere, where it mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming accordingly which further induces climate change.
The timescale of trees: Deforestation emits greenhouse gases...
... middle of paper ...
...re also affected by forests. Overall, this effect tends to decrease surface temperatures.
The emissions from deforestation and degradation is about increasing stored carbon in forest ecosystems. The drivers of increased emissions are such as unsustainable agriculture, illegal logging, poor forest management practices and lack of natural resource management institutions. Degradation is a major threat to biodiversity, ecosystem stability, an society’s ability to function. Because of the interconnectivity between ecosystems across scales, degradation triggers destructive processes that can have cascading effects across the entire biosphere. Loss of biomass through vegetation clearance and increased soil erosion produces greenhouse gases that contribute global warming and climate change. The impacts of degradation therefore extend far beyond local or regional scales.
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