by Wolfgang Flüs
Climate change is currently one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Above all, we must be very concerned about our forests. After all, trees are vital to us. They filter the harmful CO2 from the air and provide us with oxygen. But what happens when climate change continues and we can no longer help our trees?
What exactly does climate change mean?
By climate change we mean a cooling or warming of the earth's climate. We are currently affected by global warming. The average temperature of the earth continues to rise, which also causes the oceans and the atmosphere to warm. So it's about long-term climate change worldwide and not just about the weather, which changes daily.
Here you can find more detailed information on the causes and consequences of climate change. (Link article climate change)
What are the specific consequences of climate change for our forests?
Above all, the occurrence of precipitation is changing as a result of climate change. That is, take it Weather extremes as heat waves or Droughts to. This in turn means that the risk of forest fires is enormously increased. Also Floods by Heavy rain or Storms occur more often. Violent storms can uproot trees and literally tear them out of their habitat.
In addition, the periods without rain are getting longer and the soil is drying out. That is why our trees are getting too dry and they get into the so-called Drought stress. The tree shows different symptoms such as leaves, which warp, discolor and fall off. Trees also store moisture in their leaves. If this memory is used up, however, the trees shed their leaves prematurely, which in the worst case can happen Tree dying can lead.
Because of the little rain sinks also the water table always deeper. Sometimes it is no longer even possible for the roots of older and larger trees to reach the sinking groundwater. Besides the long dry spells it often just happens in a few days zu Heavy rain. This has the disadvantage that the large amounts of water can no longer be absorbed by the ground and can supply the roots of the trees. The falling groundwater level is also a consequence of this.
It can already be seen that trees less foliage wear or many dead branches gives. We see more and more in forests Gaps in the canopy through bare trees.
What are our forests used for and what do they do for us?
First of all, the forests play an extremely important role for us humans because they provide us with oxygen and filter CO2 from the air. At the same time, they serve as a Noise and dust filters and senkan the other Pollutant content. This pure and cooled air is then sent back to surrounding cities, for example. Therefore our trees contribute a large part Climate Protection at. The woods compensate for temperature fluctuations and increase the humidity.
The forest is also an amazing waterworks because he saves and filters for us that water. Most of the water protection areas are not in the forest for nothing. Fungi and microorganisms in the forest floor ensure natural processing. In the woods there is anyway no fertilizers or pesticidesthat could be found as residue in the water.
In addition, the forests offer us diverse Recreation areas and make one Habitat for many animal and plant species ready. Healthy forests can also protect the valleys from avalanches, landslides or floods.
Next to her protection the forests also fulfill one Usage function. Wood is that renewable raw material for the wood and paper industry. For forest owners, wood provides the basis of their income and also creates jobs. The sale of wood is the main source of income for forestry. This in turn finances measures for the protection and recovery of forests.
What do forests with and without climate change suffer from?
Forests sometimes suffer as a result of being exploited by forestry as a source of raw materials. However, this cannot be generalized. But if the forests are exterminated, they can no longer defend themselves against extreme weather and insect pests.
The so-called Forest or forest pests can have a very negative impact on the health and growth of trees. These include Insect pests, mice or mushrooms, virus and bacteria. The best-known pest is probably the bark beetle. Roe deer and stags can also be with you too high game population develop into forest pests when they eat the shoots of young trees.
Mainly, however, our forests are suffering from climate change
Let's take the first Spruce as an an example. It alone covers about a quarter of the German forest area. Unfortunately, this tree is also the absolute favorite of the Bark beetle. However, a healthy spruce can defend itself against this pest by producing sufficient resin.
This prevents the bark beetles from getting under the bark. A withered spruce can unfortunately no longer do this and is completely at the mercy of the bark beetles. By the mild climate can the pests moreover still multiply much better. So it is possible that at some point there will be huge open spaces in the places where the spruce trees once stood.
The calibrate however, can normally be distinguished by their deep roots protect well against drought stress. But if there is no rain for a long time, these deep roots can no longer access water. Oak trees grow especially fast in the springwhen the soil is normally still damp. If the spring is like in previous years very dry the growth of new trees suffers. Also the pest of the oak, the Oak processionary spinner, can spread faster due to mild temperatures in winter and the Eating off the treetop.
In principle, it can be said that Spreading pests much more easily due to climate change and trees die as a result. But that too lack of water makes the forests difficult to create. Now there is the question: How can an entire forest be irrigated? Newly planted trees can possibly be reached with a watering cart. But many areas cannot be reached at all. So what happens if climate change continues and we can no longer help most of the trees?
What are the consequences of climate change for our trees and us?
When the trees Do NOT spread pesto on this layer! sufficient supplied with water or attacked by insects become spreads large tree deaths and they can no longer give us oxygen. Pollutants in the air are no longer cleaned either, we will inhale them more and over the long term endanger our health. Because of the forest dieback, there is also ultimately for us no more recreation areas for leisure activities. Also the animal world becomes the habitat in the woods taken.
The Production of drinking water will also difficult and more costly, since the forest floor in particular contributes a large part to pure water. All products in the paper and wood industry are also becoming more expensive. Forests have to be processed expensively and if wood suddenly becomes scarce, the prices will rise enormously.
So you can see the devastating consequences of climate change on our vital forests. Every single tree in nature is precious. Therefore we can and must intervene as true casting heroes and save trees.