Europe has been using ancient forests for fuel and losing forest cover since 1968

Summary

Europe is sacrificing its ancient forests for energy. Cutting down and clearing trees to create new forest roads, planting biofuel crops in the wrong places and setting fires over land to clear the way all have negative impacts on these iconic European forests. These impacts are particularly acute when it comes to Mediterranean subtropical rainforests.

Continued deforestation in Europe threatens the continent’s biodiversity, economies and climate change systems because if enough of these forests are destroyed or degraded, a feedback loop can occur that accelerates climate change by worsening rainfall for a climate drier.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to stop deforestation and protect the remaining forests.

Around 60% of Europe’s temperate and boreal forests are found in countries bordering the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

These areas include southeastern European countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, and Turkey, as well as parts of Greece, Italy, Russia, and Turkey. Ukraine, but also parts of France, Turkey and Spain.

The amount of forest cover in these areas has been significantly reduced in recent decades, with some 90 million hectares (220 million acres) lost to deforestation since 1968, while 30 million hectares (65 million acres) have been cleared within the borders of Europe beyond the same period. The deforestation of Mediterranean forests worsens climate change because these forests store a lot of carbon and can slow down climate change.

Old trees play a big role

Ancient trees in these regions help Europe moderate its temperatures by absorbing carbon dioxide and retaining water as they collect moisture from the air through their leaves.

These trees also help prevent soil degradation, provide habitats for animals, clean the air and soil, and reduce pollution levels in urban areas. Removing these forests will lead to problems with flooding, drought, erosion and increased risk of disease by increasing the amount of dust in the area.

Mediterranean forests

Mediterranean forests are an important source of food and wood for those who live nearby. The trees in these regions produce the nuts, fruits and resin that provide ingredients for cooking and medicine. The wood from these forests provides construction and firewood, while the bark is used to make paper. Forests are also used as recreation areas by Europeans who like to hike in nature or relax around a campfire when they want to get away from hectic city life. These forests are an important part of the cultural identity of many Europeans, who appreciate them not just because they exist, but because they have existed for thousands of years. Across Europe, about 40% of ancient forests have disappeared since 1990.

Europe consumes the most wood pellets of all regions.

In the European Parliament, a proposal banning nations from burning entire trees to meet their clean energy goals and ending the majority of industrial subsidies is set to come to a vote. The only energy that would be considered renewable and therefore eligible for subsidies is energy derived from wood waste, such as sawdust.

Conclusion

To conclude this article, it is essential to highlight the idea that around 60% of Europe’s temperate and boreal forests are found in the countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The amount of forest cover in these areas has been significantly reduced in recent decades. Deforestation threatens the continent’s biodiversity, economies and climate change systems.

The deforestation of Mediterranean forests worsens climate change because these forests store a lot of carbon and can slow down climate change. Removing these forests will lead to problems with flooding, drought, erosion and increased risk of disease by increasing the amount of dust in the area.