Not all trees are created equal when it comes to fighting climate change – and that some actually may do more harm than good, climate scientists say.
A new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, shows that an expansion of forests towards dark green conifers in Europe has stoked global warming. The findings challenge the widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow the Earth’s rising temperatures. Apparently, not all trees have the same mitigating effect.
“Two and a half centuries of forest management in Europe have not cooled the climate,” a team of scientists led by France’s Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement wrote.
While the area of Europe’s forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750, the continent’s summer temperatures have increased 0.12 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit). The scientists say that’s largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruces whose dark color traps the sun’s heat.