How does deforestation contribute to climate change?

13.10.14 By

Human activities – primarily the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, and the clearing of forests – are triggering the changes we can see in the global climate.

Forests store large amounts of carbon. Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. This is converted into carbon and stored in the plant’s branches, leaves, trunks, roots and in the soil.

When forests are cleared or burnt, stored carbon is released into the atmosphere, mainly as carbon dioxide. Deforestation accounts for around 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities – this is more than global emissions from transport.

Protecting natural ecosystems and sustainably managing and re-establishing forests are important ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.