As our understanding of the role forests playin stabilizing global climate increases, it isbecoming clear that their destruction is onlyexacerbating climate change. If were seriousabout tackling this, then preserving ourremaining ancient forests has to be a priority.
Mature forests store enormous quantities of carbon, both in the treesand vegetation itself and within the soil in the form of decaying plantmatter. Forests in areas such as the Congo and the Amazon representsome of the worlds largest carbon stores on land. But when forests are logged or burnt, that carbon is released into theatmosphere, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and othergreenhouse gases and accelerating the rate of climate change. So muchcarbon is released that they contribute up to one-fifth of global man-made emissions, more than the worlds entire transport sector. Deforestation has such a massive effect on climate changethat Indonesia and Brazil are now the third and fourth largest emitters ofcarbon dioxide on the planet. This dubious honour comes not fromindustrial or transport emissions, but from deforestation - up to 75 percent of Brazils emissions come solely from deforestation - with themajority coming from clearing and burning areas of the Amazonrainforest.