Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Loss of African woodland may impact on climate, study shows

Date:
July 22, 2013
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
A more strategic approach to managing trees across Africa could have a positive impact on the changing climate, researchers say.

Deforestation in parts of Africa could be reversed with changes to land use, a study suggests.

Related Articles


A more strategic approach to managing trees across the continent could have a positive impact on the changing climate, researchers say.

A pioneering study of African savannas by the University of Edinburgh has revealed deforestation in south-central Africa, driven by rising populations in the aftermath of war, and increasing demand for trees for agriculture and fuel.

This loss of forests threatens the ecosystem and the livelihood of populations. Scientists suggest that the situation could be alleviated by using sustainable fuel instead of charcoal, and ending the practice of burning forests to support agriculture and livestock.

Loss of trees could impact on climate change, as forests store carbon in their stems and branches, helping to reduce the amount of harmful carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Tracking changes in woodland across the continent may help scientists better understand their effect on weather patterns, and improve predictions of global climate change.

The study identified a north-south divide -- while most forests and woodlands in the south are losing tree cover, many north of the equator are gaining trees. The worst affected areas are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.

Increase in forest cover north of the Congo basin might have been caused by migration to cities, resulting in fewer fires, and more hunting of large mammals, reducing tree destruction.

Researchers analysed studies of tree cover in African savannas, and combined this with a 25 year record from satellite data. The study, supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Dr Ed Mitchard, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: "Land use in Africa influences how much its forests can grow -- and their capacity for absorbing carbon emissions. If humans reduce burning and cutting forests and savannas these will grow and help to limit the impact of carbon emissions, but instead in many places people are impacting more on woodlands and forests, adding to carbon emissions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edward T. A. Mitchard and Clara M. Flintrop. Woody encroachment and forest degradation in sub-Saharan Africa's woodlands and savannas 1982–2006. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B., 2013; 368 20120406 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0406

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Loss of African woodland may impact on climate, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722072041.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2013, July 22). Loss of African woodland may impact on climate, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722072041.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Loss of African woodland may impact on climate, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722072041.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Voice-Controlled GPS Helmet to Help Bikers

Voice-Controlled GPS Helmet to Help Bikers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) — Motorcyclists will no longer have to rely on maps or GPS systems, both of which require riders to take their eyes off the road, once a new Russian smart helmet goes on sale this summer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kashmir Mops Up After Heavy Flooding

Kashmir Mops Up After Heavy Flooding

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) — The clean-up operation is in full swing in Indian Kashmir after heavy rain triggered flooding around the mountainous region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tracking This Warbler's 'Extraordinary' Transoceanic Flight

Tracking This Warbler's 'Extraordinary' Transoceanic Flight

Newsy (Apr. 1, 2015) — The blackpoll warbler makes one of the longest nonstop flights in the animal kingdom: three days straight for some 1,500 miles. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brush Fire Threatens California Buildings

Brush Fire Threatens California Buildings

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 31, 2015) — A brush fire with zero containment burns in Apple Valley California, threatening over 100 structures and forcing the evacuation of local residents. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins