Morning mist shrouds a tropical forest at Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand. (Photo: Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock) Trees, among their many other superpowers , help absorb some of the excess carbon dioxide humans have been adding to Earth’s atmosphere lately. That’s a valuable service, considering we still release about 2.57 million pounds of CO2 every second, on average, and the heat-trapping gas can linger in the sky for centuries. We know Earth needs more trees. And although we are doing far too little about climate change in general, we are planting trees — so many, in fact, that global tree cover has reportedly increased by about 7% in the last 35 years. That’s just a drop in the bucket, though, since Earth’s total number of trees has fallen by 46% since the dawn of agriculture about 12,000 years ago. Today, we’re mostly adding slower-growing trees at higher latitudes, which are less effective carbon absorbers, while rapidly losing trees across the tropics . In 2017 alone, for example, Earth lost about 39 million acres (15.8 million hectares) of tropical tree cover, which is like losing 40 football fields of trees every minute for a year. Dead trees stand in a recently […]


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