The Heat Is Online

Researchers see rapid forest loss to warming

"If Global Warming Continues, 40 Percent of World Forests Extinct"

TOKYO, June 14, 1998 (Itar-Tass) -- If global warming continues at the present rate, the world will lose over 40 percent of its forests by the year 2010. According to Sunday press reports, this dismal warning was made by a group of researchers from several Japanese institutions, who extrapolated trends in the ecological sphere with a computer.

In turn, dying forests will only aggravate "the greenhouse effect," since dead trees will not be able to absorb carbon gas, but, on the contrary, will exude it.

According to calculations by Japanese researchers from the Tokyo technological institute and the National ecological research institute, if temperature rises only by two degrees Centigrade on the planet in the 21st century, over a quarter of forests will die away.

If the average level of warming amounts to 3.5 degrees, this will result in the destruction of 43 percent of forests. Damage to forests will be especially destructive in the northern hemisphere. Qualitatively new types of forests may appear in some regions, the Japanese researchers added.