Emissions from a single tree are small; emissions from several trillion trees the scientists say could be a cause of concern for their collective contribution to climate change. Still in its early stages, variation between the trees seemed the only constant in the study-, with similar species in similar soils measuring drastically different results. To add to the confusion, recent studies have shown that some trees actually mop up methane from the atmosphere. One apparent constant however was the general observation that trees in wet soils were more often emitters, and those in dry soils the absorbers. This is likely to add complications to the adage of forests as a knight in the fight against climate change. The focus up until now has been on trees as sequesters of carbon, with little focus on other properties. Despite this, the scientists argue that current forests initiatives should continue, as the focus should neither just be on climate change but land degradation and biodiversity too. What’s needed, they say, are comprehensive assessments of forests and climate, where the complete system of properties are accounted for.
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