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Deforestation and climate change would threaten outdoor work, study finds

The experts are quite clear: deforestation has a double negative effect on climate change . When a forest is cut down, it can no longer extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Furthermore, soils release carbon dating by an average of 1,500 years.

According to a study published in 2019, deforestation in the tropics causes more CO2 emissions than was initially thought, because carbon that has been accumulating for hundreds of years is also released from the soil.

At those times, the researchers found that the soil released a lot of carbon in those areas where many trees had been cut down . Hence this double negative effect: first, the tree that converts CO2 into oxygen disappears; Second, the soil releases carbon when land use changes from forestry to agricultural.

Recently, we have seen another study published in the journal One Earth , according to which deforestation and climate change have caused an increase in temperatures in different tropical regions , which would make working outdoors in these areas more dangerous for many workers.

Scientists found that, between 2003 and 2018, around 4.9 million people lost at least half an hour a day from working conditions at a temperature considered safe, because the tropics are already on the verge of being too hot and humid. like to work outdoors safely.

According to this research, deforestation could turn these regions into even more dangerous work environments . In fact, they estimated that 91,000 people lost more than two hours of considered safe working temperatures per day, the vast majority in Asia.

It is true that the link between deforestation and local temperature increases has already been demonstrated. And it is that the trees, which block sunlight, provide shade, cooling the air from evapotranspiration. In other words, they carry water from the soil and evaporate it from the surface of their leaves.

But as the study authors explain, “until now, many arguments in favor of saving tropical forests have been based on biodiversity or the fight against climate change.” Hence they hope that “the additional information provided by this study on the relationship between the health of local forests and human health will be taken into account when comparing the costs and benefits of deforestation.”

Specifically, during the study period, the scientists found that the increase in temperature as a result of deforestation was much greater than that caused by recent climate change .

To reach that conclusion, they focused on the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Para, on the Amazon border, which have suffered extensive deforestation over the past two decades.

They found that in almost 60% of recently deforested areas, the temperature had risen by more than 2 ° C. While 47% of these areas lost the equivalent of more than half an hour per day of safe working temperatures, compared to only 4% of the areas that maintained their forest cover.

Surprisingly, during the study period (between 2003 and 2018), the team of scientists calculated that 1.22 million square kilometers of rainforest had been destroyed or degraded.

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