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Sat12202014

Technology

Land use in Africa has major impact on carbon emissions, study

Land use in Africa has major impact on carbon emissions, study
Land use and deforestation have major impacts on climate change

Land use in the continent of Africa could determine the intensity of the impact of carbon emissions, according to a study done by the University of Edinburgh.

On a pioneering study on the African savannas, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that south-central Africa is suffering from deforestation that is driven by increased population, and increased demand for trees for agriculture and fuel.

The deforestation in the region threatens the ecosystem of the population and their livelihood. But this deforestation can be reversed with changes in land use, as well as adopting a more strategic approach in managing trees – these efforts, according to the researchers, will not only prevent ecosystem damage and preserve their livelihood, but it will also have a positive impact on the changing climate.

“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,” said study leader Dr. Ed Mitchard of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences.

The researchers pointed out that the forests act as carbon storage that help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere, but the loss of trees could have an impact on climate change. Because of this, tracking the changes in woodlands across the continent may help scientists understand deforestation’s effects on weather patterns, thus improving predictions of global climate change. – EcoSeed Staff



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