5 Ways Rainforests Mitigate Climate Change

Rainforests are one of nature’s best defenses against climate change. All forests and other landscapes sequester carbon dioxide and store carbon, but tropical rainforests do better. That’s why Rainforest Trust is committed to preventing deforestation of these valuable landscapes. We’ve protected 39.6 billion trees so far!  Here are 5 important reasons why rainforests are key to climate stabilization:

  1. Rainforests add humidity to the atmosphere via transpiration (the process by which plants release water through their leaves), which in turn creates rain clouds. The moisture generated then returns to the land. Significant reductions in forest cover decrease rainfall and increase the incidence of drought.
  2. Rainforests lessen the Earth’s reflectivity because they absorb more heat than unforested surfaces. When rainforests are cut down, the heat they would have absorbed is reflected back into the atmosphere. This changes local rainfall amounts and weather patterns, and over large enough areas, affects global weather patterns.
  3. Rainforests sequester and store carbon. Forest ecosystems absorb roughly 2 billion tons of CO2 each year, making them the largest terrestrial carbon sinks on Earth. They capture, or sequester, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transform it into biomass through photosynthesis. Sequestered carbon is then stored in live trees, deadwood, litter and forest soils—contributing to the worldwide carbon “reservoir” that serves to mitigate climate change.
  4. Forests are nature’s water filters. Forests filter pollution and debris from runoff before it flows into larger bodies of water and water supplies. Forests also moderate the movement of rainwater so that it replenishes underground reserves.
  5. Rainforests stabilize our Earth’s climate. Rainforests help maintain the delicate balance of local climate systems and stabilize the complex, natural processes that govern Earth’s climate. Large-scale destruction of rainforests disrupts these very same systems, and that contributes to climate change.

Rainforest Trust has protected over 2.8 million acres so far in 2021 alone, and over 37 million acres since we began in 1989. These protected landscapes currently store over 11 billion tons of CO2 equivalents! That’s equal to the yearly average emissions of 2.5 billion cars driven for one year.

Our goal is to permanently lock up 15 billion tons of carbon by 2025. While we save forests to save the climate, we will also safeguard over half the world’s species and the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples.

Together with your support, we can do this! Take a stand for our planet and donate to the Rainforest Climate Action Fund today.

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