Conserving forests crucial to tackling climate change, says Dundee Professor

Photo by James Sanday on Unsplash

Proposals by political parties to plant thousands of trees to meet carbon targets should be secondary to conserving our tropical rainforests, a University of Dundee expert has said.

Mark Cutler, Professor of Physical Geography, says more effort should be taken to protect existing rainforests for both their carbon-value and their rich biodiversity, instead of focusing solely on planting new trees to offset those we have destroyed.

Professor Cutler will be discussing the importance of conserving our intact forests and their biodiversity by looking at what is happening to our rainforests at the next Café Science Dundee, which takes place in Medina Bar and Grill Dundee, on Monday 25th November at 7pm.

 “The world’s tropical forests are under increasing pressure, with the fires burning in the Amazon being the latest tragic example,” he said.

“This destruction and degradation of forests has continued for decades, with over half of all tropical forests now having been logged at least once. Those forests that remain face a deadly threat from human apathy and climate change. Letting them perish only to be replaced with agricultural plantations is killing the rich biodiversity that is crucial to sustaining these fragile ecosystems that store and absorb huge amounts of carbon.”

Throughout the General Election, several UK political parties have announced pledges to plant trees in figures ranging from 30 to 60 million, in their plans to help fight climate change.

Professor Cutler added, “During my talk, I will share how we are using satellites in space and new sensors on the ground to monitor the changes and responses of these fragile ecosystems better than ever before. It is from this data that we can understand the importance of these forests to the global ecosystem and measure the effects that we are having upon them.”

Professor Cutler’s talk ‘What’s Happening to our Rainforests,’ takes place in the Medina Bar and Grill, 113 Nethergate on Monday 25 November 2019, at 7pm. This is a free event and everyone is welcome. There is no need to book in advance but arrive early to avoid disappointment.

For media enquiries contact:
Dominic Glasgow
Media Relations Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 385131