Scientists have found that the forest area in Russia is not decreasing, as some warned earlier, but is growing. It is in Russia that more than a fifth of all forests on the planet are located. And they can become salvation not only for their native regions, but for the whole world. However, there is one “but”, says the Norwegian ecologist.
And this is very good for the climatic equation of Russia.
Nowhere in the world are there so many forests as in our neighboring Russia. More than a fifth of all forests on the planet are located there.
Climatologists are very interested in forests. In short, this is because trees absorb CO2 from the air as they grow and store it as carbon internally. The more carbon in the trees, the less CO2 in the air. Most researchers believe that this has a beneficial effect on the temperature of the globe.
An international group of researchers has found out how great the significance of the huge forests of Russia really is. Their scientific work has been published in Nature.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has reported only very minor changes in its forest area. But this does not correspond to a number of remote measurements.
The numbers diverged and created confusion
A number of measurements have shown that forests have grown, and their productivity has increased.
Because of this, there was some uncertainty about the real state of the current Russian forests, explains the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in a press release.
The purpose of the study was, in part, to get more reliable numbers. The researchers cannot go and simply count all the trees, so they requested data from both the National Forest Register of Russia and the Global Forest Observing System.
These data, combined with remote sensing measurements, were used to provide a new estimate of forest growth.
Positive numbers for Russia
The researchers were pleased with the results. And they turned out to be in favor of Russia. It turned out that Russian forests are growing with might and main and feel great.
According to new data, total biomass has increased by about 40% more than recorded in the Russian state forest register. Also, according to a new study, carbon in Russia is absorbed 47% more intensively than indicated in the international report on the inventory of greenhouse gases.
These figures refer to the period from 1988 to 2014.
Positive data, but …
So, the green forests of Russia have a positive effect on the climate equation. And the fact that they are growing faster than expected increases our “profit”.
However, the authors of the study emphasize that extreme climate changes in the future could hit forests hard. And then the positive effect will quickly be reduced to zero.
Jenni Nordén of the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research in 2020 said the same. She commented on the situation in connection with our article on trees that grow faster, but can live less and absorb less carbon.
“Relying on tree growth as a way to enhance carbon sequestration is a shortsighted strategy,” she said at the time. “And not only because of this reported effect, which is mentioned in the article, but also because of the prospects for more extreme climates in the future: storms, droughts, high temperatures, which kill or weaken trees and make them vulnerable to disease and pests.”