More trees, more rain ? (IRINNews)

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Will more trees cause more rain?

It is commonly believed that destroying trees will influence the climate of a region. But scientific evidence to support that deforestation and afforestation influence local climate – affecting temperature and rainfall – has only just started emerging.

A new study, led by Borbála Gálos of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, found that planting trees – or afforestation – in areas in Europe where there have previously been no trees can reduce the effect of climate change by cooling temperate regions. Using a computer-generated regional climate model, the study showed that afforestation in the northern part of central Europe and Ukraine could reduce temperatures by 0.3-0.5C and increase rainfall by 10 to 15 percent during summers by 2071-2090.

While the study was specific to the temperate regions, Gálos told IRIN that, in some regions, forests could be effectively used for climate-change mitigation. These studies gain more importance as drought-affected countries like Niger plan a massive afforestation campaign that will regenerate five million hectares of dry degraded land. Additionally, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently published a policy guide to show that combining tree planting with crop or livestock production could not only stem climate change but also create incomes.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.