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:: Climate ::

An overview of interrelationship between climate change and forests
Inkyin Khainea,b and Su Young Wooa*
aDepartment of Environmental Horticulture, University of Seoul, Seoul 130743, Republic of Korea; bForest Department, Ministry of
Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Naypyitaw, Myanmar
(Received 27 March 2014; Accepted 4 June 2014)
Global warming is a well-known natural phenomenon that needs to be controlled for environmental conservation. Based on
the ecological interrelationship between forest and climate, the concept of our review was formulated with the aim of
providing current information about deforestation and its effects on climate change, the impacts of climate change on
forests and the role of forests in climate change. Based on recent research findings, the annual rate of deforestation is
0.14% per year with 2.3 million square kilometers lost between 2000 and 2012. The net carbon emission from
deforestation and forest degradation, which can cause climate change, was high and it has not changed significantly over
the last two decades. On the other hand, temperature, drought, precipitation and fire can affect forest health (especially for
young trees). But if we define these factors in detail, solar radiation alone may not affect tree growth, although together
with temperature it can affect growth. Moreover, the frequency of fire affected the regeneration of tropical moist deciduous
and Amazonian forest types more significantly than temperate and tropical dry deciduous forest types. Non-equilibrium
species distribution has been occurring and frequency of species has been changed throughout the world. However, the
amount of carbon storage by world forests is significant (650 billion tons) although carbon sequestration potential varies
with forest types and water deficiency.
Keywords: global warming; deforestation; forests types; water deficiency; carbon storage
Introduction
Living and non-living organisms, their ecosystems, the
environment and climatic conditions can be considered as
dependent components of the world on each other and
their balance is essential for the sustainability and stability
of the world. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) report, global average temperature
of the period 18802012 has increased by 0.85 C
and the temperature increase between the 18501900
period and the 20032012 period was 0.78 C (IPCC
2013). Consequently, the rate of sea level rise was also
high (annual rate of 3.2 mm/yr). Furthermore, carbon
dioxide (CO2) concentration has increased by more than
25% during the last century (Smith and Smith 2009), and
according to the IPCC fifth assessment report of climate
change, CO2 concentration has increased by 40% primarily
due to two anthropogenic processes: fossil fuel emission
and deforestation (land use change) (IPCC 2013).
There is no doubt that these recent climate changes can
intrinsically affect forest ecosystems. Severe climate
change is one of the causes of deforestation, which can
lead to desertification, while at the same time this deforestation
is a major driver of climate change. The increasing
temperature and drought have negative impacts on species
diversity as well as ecosystem goods and services to
humanity (Gnacadja and Lesch 2009). This review focuses
on climate change and forests based on the ecological concept
of the interdependent natures of climate and ecosystems
(Figure 1). So, we review, firstly, the deforestation
and its effects on climate change; secondly, the impacts of
that climate change on forests; and then the role of forests
on carbon sequestration and its relation to climate change.
Deforestation and its effects on climate change
The major drivers of climate change can be divided into
two types: anthropogenic causes such as land use changes,
deforestation and forest degradation, fossil fuel burning
and industrial processes and natural causes such as solar
radiation changes and volcanic activity. So, deforestation
and forest degradation play a role in global climate change,
and reciprocally, deforestation is indirectly affected by climate
change.
About 10,000 years ago, the world’s forests covered
around 6 billion hectares which is about 45% of total land
area. However, the forest covers has been decreasing from
that period and only about 31% of the world’s area is covered
by forests in 2010 (FAO 2010). Agricultural expansion
including shifting cultivation is one of the major
anthropogenic divers for deforestation in the tropical
region (Houghton 2012). According to the reports of the
Forest and Agrculture Organization (FAO), annual rate of
deforestation is 0.14% per year (5.2 million hectares per
year of net annual deforestation) (FAO 2010; FAO 2012)
and, during the twenty-first century, deforestation was
slow in temperate forests whereas deforestation was still
high in tropical forests (FAO 2012).
Globally, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation have been found to
*Corresponding author. Email: woosuyoung19@naver.com
ISSN 2158-0103 print/ISSN 2158-0715 online
 2014 Korean Forest Society
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21580103.2014.932718
http://www.tandfonline.com
Forest Science and Technology
Vol. 11, No. 1, March 2015, 1118
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