Giant trees are more important to forests than previously thought, study finds

This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.

A new paper published by Science has shown that giant, slow-reproducing trees play an even more critical role in the health of forests and sequestration of carbon than previously assumed. The study provides in depth knowledge of around 282 trees on how quickly they grow, how long they live and how many offspring they produce. It is thought the study will encourage climate modellers to stop representing all trees as the same.

These types of trees are known as “long-lived pioneers” and have likely been around for decades, if not centuries. They include species such as mahogany and Brazil nut trees, which grow tall and big, above the canopy of forests and jungles. These species are vital for sequestering huge amounts of carbon, and even when they die put vast amounts of nutrients and biomass back into the earth.

The findings further highlight the need for better forest protection and biodiversity to slow down global warming. Such information is crucial in helping restore tropical forests around the world which are being destroyed at a terrifying rate.

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