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Forest management not so hot at fighting warming

Tree-planting strategies in Europe make climate change worse, study suggests

By
2:00pm, February 4, 2016
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LEAFY GREENS  Tinkering with Europe’s forests has increased populations of dark-leafed conifer trees that reflect less sunlight (pine forest in Germany, shown), compared with lighter-colored broad-leaved trees, and so has failed to alleviate climate change, new research shows.

Environmentalists hoping that micromanaging Europe’s forests will help curb climate change may be barking up the wrong tree.

Retracing changes in forestry since 1750, researchers report in the Feb. 5 Science that forest management in Europe has made climate change worse, not better. Despite an overall uptick in tree populations, European forests stockpile less carbon than they did around 250 years ago. Furthermore, favoritism among foresters for certain tree species has resulted in forests that absorb more warming sunlight and undergo less air-cooling evaporation, the researchers found.

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