Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Loss of African woodland may impact on climate, study shows

22.07.2013
Deforestation in parts of Africa could be reversed with changes to land use, a study suggests.

A more strategic approach to managing trees across the continent could have a positive impact on the changing climate, researchers say.

A pioneering study of African savannas by the University of Edinburgh has revealed deforestation in south-central Africa, driven by rising populations in the aftermath of war, and increasing demand for trees for agriculture and fuel.

This loss of forests threatens the ecosystem and the livelihood of populations. Scientists suggest that the situation could be alleviated by using sustainable fuel instead of charcoal, and ending the practice of burning forests to support agriculture and livestock.

Loss of trees could impact on climate change, as forests store carbon in their stems and branches, helping to reduce the amount of harmful carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Tracking changes in woodland across the continent may help scientists better understand their effect on weather patterns, and improve predictions of global climate change.

The study identified a north-south divide – while most forests and woodlands in the south are losing tree cover, many north of the equator are gaining trees. The worst affected areas are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.

Increase in forest cover north of the Congo basin might have been caused by migration to cities, resulting in fewer fires, and more hunting of large mammals, reducing tree destruction.

Researchers analysed studies of tree cover in African savannas, and combined this with a 25 year record from satellite data. The study, supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Dr Ed Mitchard, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: "Land use in Africa influences how much its forests can grow – and their capacity for absorbing carbon emissions. If humans reduce burning and cutting forests and savannas these will grow and help to limit the impact of carbon emissions, but instead in many places people are impacting more on woodlands and forests, adding to carbon emissions."

Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ed.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>