Global forest decline could be considered a major contributor but in actuality it is only a symptom of advanced human ignorance which is the foremost cause of Global Warming. We reduce the global forest cover so we are the cause from that direction, we deplete oil reserves for smog crazy emissions so we are the cause from that angle, we overpopulate geographically constricted areas like Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley (natural bowls with little environmental flushing available) and then encourage personal status symbol cars instead of wholly reliable and extensive public transportation so we are the cause from that angle, and so on. Track a lot of the effects back to us which makes us the primary cause - but we can blame it on the trees if we want to. Makes us look really bad.
There was a pretty good article in last week's Seattle Weekly about the decline of the Seattle's canopy through a loophole [Loss of Seattle's Canopy?]. Non-profits purchase land with tree stands declared vital and imperative to the local canopy by nature of the local rarity of their type (Douglas Fir was one, quaking aspen another). The stands are then cut down with "statement of intention" of replacement on the property with identical trees. The action is invisible to the public record and therefore legal action to prevent it because the official appearance of the purchased land is as that of a tree preserve property. There is no need for developer permission to alter, remove or replace since the purchase was made non-profit under the motivation of vital tree stand preservation.
The appearance is that the non-profit property is saving vital local forests, which they then tout about themselves as an organization, but the actual activity is loss of vital natural stands of diminishing local trees. The quaking aspen, the article pointed out, does not transplant well so the stands quite likely never successfully recover and young growth in no way equals the contribution of old growth (it takes years to reach full potential) so original stands are never successfully duplicated on the property.
Nah, you can't just say less forest == higher temperatures. Earth temperatures have been much higher in the distant past with plenty of forests covering her land masses.
Alexis is right that deforestation is one variable in a rapidly unbalanced equation that makes up our atmosphere mix.
A cool book to read on the widespread environmental impact of deforestation is "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" by Jared Diamond. In the first hundred pages or so he does a deep dive of how humans were wiped off the face of Easter Island as a result of overtaxing the land. An interesting analysis of a more contained micro-ecosystem.
I also caught that Seattle Weekly article. The good news is that recently they passed Washington State legislation designed to provide incentives for urban forestry to repopulate some of the canopy. They've eliminated most of the loopholes.
Brave New Leaf - Everyman Environmentalism http://www.bravenewleaf.com
posted 10 years ago
Today in Weather History — Record U.S. snowdepth at Tamarack, California, 451 inches, 1911. -Farmer's Almanac
Wasilla Alaska this year: "I always dreamed of running the (Iditarod) race through Wasilla just because that's where we live and we have a lot of fans," said Ryan Redington, the 25-year-old grandson of race founder Joe Redington. "(But) right now, you can drive down any street and you'll see green grass." [fr:"Climate Change and Urban Spawl Alter Iditarod Race"] - Environmental News Network
climatehotmap.org has some interesting global climate changes listed.
and POOF! You're gone! But look, this tiny ad is still here: