Survivaltech.club is back from summer vacation! I had a fantastic time windsurfing in Yyteri, the Hawaii of Finland. Also, I read fascinating books like Educated by Tara Westover and Antifragile by Nassim Taleb.
For the past week, I’ve been learning about forests. They are truly fascinating and complex ecosystems. A cool fact about trees is that they are natural fractals!
I am excited to share with you what I’ve learnt. In this deep dive, I want to underline the importance of biodiversity. It was a relatively new concept for me. Only now am I starting to comprehend its importance for humanity's survival.
Enough of chatting. Let’s learn about those cool forests!
However, as we cut down forests and make them more vulnerable to wildfires via climate change, forests can start to act as a carbon source. Nowadays, forests emit 8.1 Gt of CO2e every year.
The recent development is worrisome. A new study published last month in Nature found out that the Amazonia is now a net carbon source. So, Amazonia releases more carbon dioxide than its rainforest can photosynthesize and capture carbon dioxide.
Amazonia hosts the Earth’s most extensive tropical forests, which have (previously) been an important carbon sink.
Furthermore, deforestation and the expansion of human populations into forest areas can cause us to suffer from new infectious diseases. These diseases are called zoonotic diseases, as they spread from wild animals to humans.
Intact primary forests would be vital to preserve. This is because these forests hold the most biodiversity.
The second best thing is to reforest lands that used to be forests. Reforestation can be done either by natural regeneration or by planting trees.
We should do deforestation with special care to avoid adverse outcomes. For example, we should plant enough diverse species to ensure biodiversity. We should also prioritize reforesting lands that used to be forests.
You may have the image of tree planting as the most heroic climate action that each of us can take to save the planet.
This is at least the picture that society had planted (pun intended) in my head. So when laying out my 30-year goal for CO2e reduction in my first Survivaltech.club post, I calculated how many trees I’d need to plant.
Tree planting has negative consequences if we are not careful enough in executing it. Negative effects of tree planting include increases in invasive species, reduction in pollinator services, reduction in croplands and food production, and disruption of water cycles.
Tree planting is even used as an excuse to cut forests. But the difference between a newly planted forest and an intact primary forest is like day and night. Primary forests are immensely rich in biodiversity.
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