Climate change threatens to damage and even decimate forests worldwide, according to IUFRO – the International Union of Forest Research Organisations.

The group’s latest research shows an effect of climate change could see forests belch out increased amounts of carbon dioxide – which would further increase climate change.

In its latest report Adaptations of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment, presented to the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) at the UN Headquarters in New York this week.

Authored by 35 of the world’s top forestry scientists, it provides the first global

assessment to date of the ability of forests to adapt to climate change and is expected to play a key role in next week’s UNFF discussions.

The report presents the state of scientific knowledge regarding the current and projected future impacts of climate change on forests and people along with options for adaptation.

Risto Seppälä, a professor at the Finnish Forest Research Institute chaired the expert panel that produced the report.

He said: “We normally think of forests as putting the brakes on global warming, but in fact over the next few decades, damage induced by climate change could cause forests to

release huge quantities of carbon and create a situation in which they do more to

accelerate warming than to slow it down.”

Luke Walsh

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