Forests are paying a hefty price in the face of climate change. International Forest Day (March 21st) has been a chance to sound the alert.
In Belgium, repeated droughts and heat waves also have diminished ecosystems in local woods, which are especially influenced by insects such as bark beetles.
“We cut the trees down attacked by bark beetles which generated clearings. And that winter we had, before the conclusion of this week, very considerable storm winds that hauled down the spruces that were in the edge of the clearing.”
Climate change can be interfering with the normal cycle. Leaves and blossoms appear sooner in the summer and constantly fall after in the fall. This happening subsequently disrupts the whole ecosystem.
“Vegetation is at the bottom of the food chain and also we note that particular species understand how to accommodate – such as caterpillars which hatch sooner because their meals, the leaves, arrive sooner,” states Corentin Rousseau out of WWF Belgium. “However, some species like migratory birds arrive too late, the summit of caterpillars is already attained. Plus they have less food to nourish their own young. So we’ve seen their population decline for a couple of decades “
Among the replies to conserve forests is to plant new species from warmer climates.
“The Arboretum project intends to locate species of shrub in different climates, drier and warmer, with the notion of analyzing the performances of those trees concerning resistance to drought, concerning immunity to insects and pathogens which are with us and concerning development,” explains Nicolas Dassonville in the Royal Belgian Forest Society.
Globally, forests are home to 80 percent of terrestrial biodiversity.