There are estimated to be about 3 trillion trees on Earth, or about half the number that existed before the dawn of human civilization. Trees are vital to at least four major components of the Earth System, namely, the carbon, water, nitrogen and oxygen cycles.
In addition to absorbing carbon, and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis, trees are critical for maintaining biodiversity, providing habitat for 80% of land based species, feeding and building the soil, generating clouds and increasing albedo (thus causing global cooling), influencing rainfall and weather patterns.
The loss of trees, therefore, weakens our chances of reaching climate and biodiversity targets, and so proforestation and other practices to preserve and restore the forests must be adopted as a matter of urgency.
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In this Sunday Morning lecture which is part of our winter wider community weekend, Professor Chris Rhodes will remind us how vital trees are for our Earth’s processes and the critical part they play in maintaining biodiversity, providing habitat for 80% of land-based biodiversity, feeding the soil, generating clouds, influencing rainfall and weather patterns.
Professor Chris Rhodes is a director of the independent consultancy, Fresh-lands Environmental Actions and has advised on low-carbon energy for the European Commission and the governments of many nations. He is the Corresponding Author of the “World Scientists’ Warnings into Action, Local to Global", framework paper, published during the COP26 climate change conference; to date, this has been signed by over 3,000 scientists from 110+ nations around the world. He is a Board Member of Scientists Warning Europe, and Chair of Transition Town Reading. He has published over 250 peer reviewed academic papers, which have received 20,000+ citations, and is also author of the black comedy novel ‘University Shambles’, and an award-winning children’s picture book, ‘Hippy the Happy Hippopotamus’.