In the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere
as 8 million people flying from London to New York. Stopping the loggers is the
fastest and cheapest solution to climate crisis. The rampant slashing and
burning of tropical forests is second only to the energy sector as a source of
greenhouse gases according to a report published today by the Oxford-based
Global Canopy Programme, an alliance of leading rainforest scientists.
Figures from the GCP, summarizing the latest findings from the United Nations, and
building on estimates contained in the Stern Report, show deforestation accounts
for up to 25 percent of global emissions of heat-trapping gases, while transport
and industry account for 14 percent each; and aviation makes up only 3 percent of
the total. —Daniel Howden, The Independent, May 14, 2007
Trees are the great shock absorbers of our planet. They are critical to the carbon-oxygen cycle
that maintains breathable air and livable temperatures. Trees also act as giant water pumps,
sending millions of tons of water back into the atmosphere so it can fall back to the Earth as
rainfall at some downwind location (see Figure 2-4). Trees stabilize soils to prevent erosion and
build topsoil. They remove minerals from the groundwater and help keep salt levels in the
aquifers fit for human consumption and agriculture.
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