Could tropical deforestation cause dangerous global climate changes?
The answer is yes, according to an outstanding article in the February 2007 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, titled Amazonia revealed: forest degradation and loss of ecosystem goods and services in the Amazon Basin.
The authors of this article note that "the influence of deforestation on climate...may extend far beyond the Amazon basin."
One new study, for example, found that deforestation in the Amazon "causes changes in (global air) circulation that alter the North Atlantic and European storm tracks, which could cause substantial cooling in southern Europe and warming across parts of Asia in winter."
What does this mean in light of the rise of sustainability?
All the buzz about the importance of adapting greener living and business practices to fight global warming is, of course, a wonderful and important development. However, we cannot forget how important it is that government, corporate, and local landowners take actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems - and the maintenance of critical ecosystem services such as regional and global climate regulation.
So when buying green to fight climate change, don't just think clean cars, EnergyStar appliances, solar panels, and carbon offsets. Think about this new reason to avoid products whose production causes the destruction of tropical rainforests - the crucial role that rainforests play in maintaining the stability of our climate.