Scientists from Tulane University and the University of New Hampshire have concluded that the severe damage Hurricane Katrina inflicted on five million acres of forest has led to a large release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
As many as 320 million large trees were killed or severely banged up in Gulf Coast forests. When healthy, these trees act as carbon sinks, pulling the stuff out of the air. Without them around, that carbon dioxide is free to travel up into the atmosphere. On top of that, the decomposition process releases still more carbon dioxide.
Lead author Jeffrey Chambers, a biologist at Tulane, had this to say: "The loss of so many trees will cause these forests to be a net source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for years to come." The work is in the latest issue of Science.—Gregory Mone
The clear cutting of trees didnt just happen in Katrina, but it happens everytime a thoughtless individual clears their residential property of well established trees. So many people dislike tall pines and mature oak trees and disgard them like dead animals or trash and plant small ornamental trees in place of them or nothing at all.
I can accept the fate of a substanital loss of trees when a natural disaster happens but I cannot tolerate it when I see it in my back yard and in countless places in the northeast.
It is selfish, cruel, and unnecessary, but few people understand the untold damage that results - has any one ever heard of what trees do to filter our air, sure the rain forest with its abundant canopy has a greater impact in this regard, but all forest helps even your few trees that you manage to keep in your yard.
They also do more than provide shade, our trees that is, imagine the sanctuary they are for all the birds...they are a plentiful source of food for elephants and giraffes..and a thing of beauty.......I hope a masive effort to replant trees will occur with the Katrina devastated areas..I know that I plant several trees a year in my wooded back yard...while it wont make up for the clear cutting everywhere and next door, it helps...
so try to plant a tree this year.