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Rainforests The Best Defense Against Climate Change

How rainforests protect the planet!

Rainforests are one of nature’s best defenses against climate change. All forests and other landscapes sequester carbon dioxide and store carbon, but tropical rainforests do better. Rainforests add humidity to the atmosphere via transpiration (the process by which plants release water through their leaves), which in turn creates rain clouds. The moisture generated then returns to the land. Significant reductions in forest cover decrease rainfall and increase the incidence of drought. Rainforests lessen the Earth’s reflectivity because they absorb more heat than un-forested surfaces. When rainforests are cut down, the heat they would have absorbed is reflected back into the atmosphere. This changes local rainfall amounts and weather patterns, and over large enough areas, affects global weather patterns.

Rainforests sequester and store carbon. Forest ecosystems absorb roughly 2 billion tons of CO2 each year, making them the largest terrestrial carbon sinks on Earth. They capture, or sequester, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transform it into biomass through photosynthesis. Sequestered carbon is then stored in live trees, deadwood, litter and forest soils—contributing to the worldwide carbon “reservoir” that serves to mitigate climate change.

Forests are nature’s water filters. Forests filter pollution and debris from runoff before it flows into larger bodies of water and water supplies. Forests also moderate the movement of rainwater so that it replenishes underground reserves. Rainforests stabilize our Earth’s climate. Rainforests help maintain the delicate balance of local climate systems and stabilize the complex, natural processes that govern Earth’s climate. Large-scale destruction of rainforests disrupts these very same systems, and that contributes to climate change.


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