Trees and Climate
The connection between trees and climate is a big one. On the micro and macro level, trees are working hard every day to improve our climate. Trees are an important part of the battle against climate change. While they aren’t the only piece of the puzzle, they are an important one!
One of the ways trees help our climate is through carbon sequestration. Trees are a carbon sink. No, it’s not a kitchen sink full of carbon. A carbon sink is a natural system that sucks up and stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forests are one of the most effective carbon sinks out there. After removing CO2 from the air, trees release oxygen, which we need to breathe. You can read even more about how trees clean the air in our air quality blog from last year.
A recent study shows that Earth could support another 900 million hectares of forests (2.2 BILLION acres), which is 25% more than we have right now. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2018 suggested that planting another 950 million hectares could help to hold the global average temperature to just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels in the next 30 years.
Trees are an important part of global climate change and the big picture, but they also impact our local climate every day.
Picture yourself riding your bike in your neighborhood, or sitting in the park. You probably picture yourself under a tree in the shade, right? The shade from trees makes your time outside cooler (literally) and also helps to combat heat island effect. Neighborhoods with more tree cover are cooler, and less heat is emitted from trees than from asphalt baking in the summer sun!