DATE: March 31, 2017
SNIP: The earth’s forests have been broken into around 50 million fragments, the edges of which add up to a length that would make it a third of the way to the sun and which increase annual tropical deforestation carbon emissions by 31 percent. This, according to a new study published recently in Nature Communications that reveals forest fragmentation may be much more destructive than previously thought.
Current estimates peg the volume of carbon emissions from the clearing of tropical forests at around 1,100 million metric tons annually. Using field data and computer modeling, the team calculated 340 million more metric tons of carbon may be released globally due to forest edge effects. In other words, the study finds forest fragmentation may be contributing 31 percent more carbon to the atmosphere than previous estimates are accounting for.