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Contact: Joshua A. Chamot
National Science Foundation

Research Still Needed to Fully Understand Impact of Global Forests on Climate Change

Caption: Forests play an integral role in the Earth's climate, and each forest type -- tropical, temperate and boreal -- has varying impacts on the climate, serving to both cool and warm the Earth. Forests help reduce global warming by absorbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and cooling the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration. However, some forests, such as boreal forests in the northern latitudes, can be darker than their surrounding terrain and absorb the sun's energy more readily, which can lead to increasing warming. The play between these competing influences is currently an area that scientists are intensely studying.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation

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Related news release: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does climate change?

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