The Vicious Cycle of Rainforest Destruction and Climate Change
Researchers at the Leeds Earth and Biosphere Institute are studying the vicious cycle of rainforest loss and climate change. Global warming as a result of burning of fossil fuels and release of other greenhouse gases is causing tropical rainforests to convert to tropical savannah landscapes which hold less carbon. Rainforests are also being lost as a result of habitat destruction from logging, agriculture and other industrial development. This rainforest loss has traditionally and continues to release huge amounts of carbon from dead vegetation, which in turn is causing more climate change. This is one example of a positive feedback that may cause global warming to become abrupt, runaway and deadly. And it is why the Climate Ark and EcoInternet's Rainforest Portal and Forests.org web sites are dedicated to ending deforestation.
Other research reported upon earlier indicates massive carbon releases when primary ancient rainforests are logged industrially – even if selectively – for the first time. It is clear that we need to maintain all of the world's remaining forests in an intact condition not only for their biodiversity and ecosystems, but for their carbon storage. Maintaining a habitable atmosphere requires not only major mandatory emission cuts, massive investments in renewable energy and much greater energy efficiency and conservation, but also an immediate end to industrial rainforest development and compensation to countries for maintaining them as global ecological reserves.