Congo Basin is the second largest rainforest area on Earth. Like most rainforest areas, it is seriously destroyed by humans. The problem of deforestation not only affects climate change because trees absorb CO2 but also indirectly "release" the amount of CO2 that has been kept underground for so long.
The forests after being cut down and the land converted to agricultural purposes, the amount of CO2 stored in the soil here up to hundreds, thousands of years will have the opportunity to escape.
Soil contains a large amount of CO2, more than the atmosphere and living vegetation combined. About a third of the world's CO2 is stored in soils in tropical regions. But this is also the place that is experiencing the most fluctuations due to excessive exploitation of human forests, population growth, industry and agriculture. When forests are lost, scientists are wondering what organic matter is decomposing into underground CO2.
This question is particularly relevant to the Congo basin because of the problem of deforestation to expand agricultural land. If things don't change anytime soon, 20 billion tons of CO2 stored in Congo forest land is likely to be released into the environment, according to a study by scientists at Florida State University.
The team sampled river water from 19 sites in the Kivu region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, including water from areas of primary forest to completely destroyed forests.
The problem of deforestation and forest fires are indirectly "releasing" the amount of CO2 stored below the atmosphere
They analyzed radioactive carbon and the chemical composition of dissolved carbon into rivers flowing through forests. Since then, the team will assess the amount of CO2 stored in forest soil being lost. Accordingly, streams flowing through the deforested forest recorded dissolved CO2 concentrations of about 900 million higher than streams flowing through the forested area.
In addition, a large amount of CO2 released from the forest so far has been locked up for more than 1500 years. This indicates that the amount of CO2 accumulated in the ground has been long ago and thanks to the forest, they will not escape. But if the land is converted to agricultural purposes, CO2 will have the opportunity to escape and fly into the atmosphere. Especially soil erosion due to deforestation also increases the risk of CO2 emission from the soil.
It is too early to know how much CO2 is released from the soil and how the study only clarifies how CO2 is released from the ground. The team is currently quantifying the concentration of CO2 released into the environment from agricultural land and deforestation to get farmland.
The authors emphasized that preventing deforestation in any way is the most important method at this time so as not to make things worse. Above all, countries and governments need to take measures to protect forests by properly exploiting forests, educating farmers about the harmful effects of deforestation for agriculture and techniques to protect the soil and fight against. CO2 emissions.
Refer to Gizmodo