Forests absorb large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. When forests are cleared, much of that CO2 is released in one go, especially when the vegetation is being burned. Research has shown that deforestation is responsible for the emission of more greenhouse gases than the entire global transport sector taken together. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 per cent of global emissions come from deforestation, which makes it one of the primary causes of climate change.
Deforestation has a double negative effect: large emissions of greenhouse gases go hand in hand with a further reduced capacity of the earth to store carbon. Turning this situation around offers possibilities: leaving the forest intact avoids further CO2 emissions; converting degraded areas into forest creates additional capacity to absorb CO2. Forests moreover reduce the negative effects of extreme weather conditions, for example by preventing soil erosion.
Therefore, both the protection of existing forests and the rehabilitation of deforested areas play a key role in the efforts of the international community to prevent further climate change. Read here how the Rich Forests method contributes to mitigating climate change.