Cutting Trees: Will This Resolve or Worsen Issues on Climate Change?
Trees are essential for human existence since they serve as natural carbon storage. That is why some people question the need for tree removal services and many of its counterparts since cutting trees accelerates greenhouse emission. That is why everyone has been taught about the need to preserve trees. But contrary to this general knowledge, do you know that cutting trees can be beneficial to our planet as well? In fact, 2 scientists from Dartmouth College want to prove this by conducting a research which proposes that snow covered areas in the world have greater albedo effect, maximizing the cooling effect that the snow can provide.
When you say “albedo”, it denotes the measurement of the amount of solar energy that bounces back from the earth’s surface. White surfaces like snow have 95% albedo effect while dark areas such as forests absorb more light, adding up to the warm climate that absorbs to the earth. Hence, the greater snow there is, the lesser heat builds up in our planet.
The 2 scientists who conducted the research are David Lutz and Richard Howarth. The first one is a post-doctoral researcher and the latter is an environmental studies professor as well as Ecological Economics journal editor. They believe that the albedo effect of open spaces filled with snow offers more advantage than the carbon storage benefits found on a standing tree.
“We don’t discredit the benefits that the carbon storage of trees offers”, Richard Howarth said. “However, more than just the carbon storage, we also need to consider the direct impact that the earth’s landscape can do to our present problem on climate change”, he added.
They focused their study on New Hampshire’s White Mountain national Forest. However, they find this relevant to other parts of the world as well such as Nordic countries, Russia, Canada and U.S. They don’t suggest total eradication of trees but suggest the need to shorten planting and harvesting periods of some tree species.
“Areas with lesser trees have low carbon uptake potential but they have great albedo effect potential” says Howarth.
“You need not only look at one thing since this will only result to unintended consequences”, Lutz said, referring to the tree’s carbon storage as compared to the value of albedo effects. However, these 2 scientists do not suggest that we clear off our forests from trees but want to promote sustainable forestry practices like rotating harvests or selective trimming which can have significant effects to our climate problems.