Saturday

Forests Are Disappearing

California redwood trees, the tallest trees on earth (over 300 feet tall) are also some of the oldest. Some are estimated to be 2,000 years old. Before the mid-19th century, according to Melissa Fay Greene, the redwoods "towered above two million acres of America's Pacific coastline. They created their own ecosystem, laundering the skies, purifying the water, enriching the soil, sustaining unique flora and fauna, and anchoring the land. The forest was a natural carbon sink, breathing in CO2 and exhaling oxygen."

By 1968, ninety-five percent of the redwoods had been cut down.

People need wood for many things, of course. So they cut down trees. The larger the human population, the more trees are cut down. "In Kentucky," writes Greene, "the Daniel Boone National Forest is being converted by the U.S. Forestry Service into a regulated tree farm, and the Appalachians are under siege. More than half of the world's boreal forests have been reduced to junk mail and catalogs. The rain forests of South and Central America, Africa, and Indonesia, including the magical cloud forests; the enchanted Danube basin; the Black Forest; the monumental Russian Tiaga — all are falling, falling."

Massive trees are made of a massive amount of carbon. In the absence of the trees, the carbon is in the atmosphere, warming the planet.

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