Researchers at the University of Washington have been looking at the impact of deforestation on climate patterns around the world and have come up with some very interesting findings.
Speaking to online news outlet, Vocativ, one of the main researchers working on the study, Abigail Swann, explained that the effects from the loss of a section of forest can be felt, not just in neighbouring regions, but can also impact the weather and the climate a long way away, much like the El Nino phenomenon.
She explained: "If a forest dies, it doesn't just matter for its neighbours, it matters for distant plants that are living really far away."
She added: "Look at how forest mortality has been increasing over the past decade and it's predicted to increase going into the future. You might expect to see some really large changes to the land surface that are driven by climate change in some part, and also by things like human deforestation."
She went on to talk about how mass deforestation in one area could impact the climate in another to the extent that forests there could suffer too – so there is a potential knock-on effect.
The research will ring alarm bells for conservationists looking at ways to reduce deforestation caused by industries such as agriculture, unsustainable timber manufacturing, and biomass energy. In the Southern US, large areas of forests are being lost to the wood pellets industry. The pellets are largely shipped to Europe, and particularly the UK, where they are burned in biomass power stations often considered to be producing low-carbon energy.