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Disturbances In the Forest – catastrophic events release carbon

A lot of carbon is stored in our forests. Trees are great at cleaning carbon out of the air and holding on to it. This would be fine but trees and forests are living things and they do, from time to time, die. Sometimes much faster, and more abruptly, than we would like. And when that happens, that carbon gets put right back into the air.

A certain amount of what scientists call “disturbances” are to be expected. Forest fire, insect outbreaks, and of course human harvesting, are all pretty normal. But as the climate changes and insects and fires become more common, so will these events.

That’s the issue. As the trees are destroyed either from fire or other events, the carbon is released back and in some cases, it’s a lot. There’s not much anyone can do about it but be aware and be careful not to incite events that may bring down the whole forest.

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