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Tech & Science Discover the 60 most extreme places on earth

11:50  30 may  2020
11:50  30 may  2020 Source:   de.starsinsider.com

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Have you ever wondered where the most extreme places on earth are? Well, you’ve come to the right place ! It’s always fun to discover the most intense places . From quietest rooms to extremely dangerous islands, you might be surprised what’s out there in the world.

Forests with old giant trees are particularly at risk from climate change and deforestation, researchers say. In the future, they should only be shaped by younger and smaller trees.

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"Like the ax in the forest", it is commonly said when people behave particularly brutally. Such bad behavior has been demonstrated by man over the past hundred years to nature: the proportion of forests that are older than 140 years has decreased from 89 to 66 percent since 1900. Old forests suffered particularly from deforestation, increased logging, but also from storms and fires - this applies in particular to tropical forests, but also to forests in Central Europe, it is said in a study, , which was published in the journal "Science" .

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This article describes extreme locations on Earth . Entries listed in bold are Earth -wide extremes . Temperatures measured directly on the ground may exceed air temperatures by 30 to 50

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The research team led by Nate McDowell from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has taken a global inventory of the condition of the forests. To do this, they compared satellite images and a total of 150 studies "in order to collect the existing knowledge on the subject," explains co-author Rupert Seidl from the Technical University of Munich.

According to the researchers, this global trend of the past decades will continue in the foreseeable future. In addition to deforestation, this is mainly due to rising temperatures, increasing drought, forest fires and infestation by insects and fungi.

"Over the past 100 years, the old forests have declined significantly globally and we have to assume that the large-scale extinction of forests will continue," says the expert on forestry and dynamics of ecosystems. "The forests of the future will be shaped by smaller and younger trees."

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The sensitivity of forests to climate extremes was demonstrated in Germany by the two dry hot summers in 2018 and 2019 . During these years, more than 2000 square kilometers of forest died in Germany - almost the size of the Saarland. Fires in Siberia, Australia and the Amazon region destroyed huge forest areas last year

Only small and younger trees survive

This is accompanied by the development of smaller and younger trees - also because large trees are more susceptible to many disruptive factors such as drought, storms and pests. "This trend is likely to continue with global warming," explains Nate McDowell. "A future planet with less old forests will be very different from what we're used to." Older forests also often hosted a much higher biodiversity than younger forests and stored more carbon.

Researchers in the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry had already proven this in a study in 2017. The result of the study, the older the forest stands, the greater the biodiversity. At the same time, older forests would absorb constant and stable carbon dioxide.

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The findings of the research group also match the nationwide forest condition survey 2019 published in April. Accordingly, the condition of the four most common tree species - beech, oak, spruce and pine - fell to the worst value since the beginning of the surveys in 1984. The main causes are drought and pest infestation.

"Germany is in a global trend with many developments." And it doesn't look good, says study author Seidl. "We are seeing increased tree death on all continents. It's a global phenomenon."

However, the researchers also see positive trends: For example, in Central Europe, the shorter winters caused trees to sprout leaves earlier and also have a longer growing season in autumn. In addition, the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is actually driving climate change, is also promoting tree growth. However, this only applies as long as there is enough water and nutrients, the study authors warn. When it is dry, trees close the stomata of their leaves and no longer absorb CO2.

While the higher CO2 levels in the air can have positive consequences in some places, the researchers are very concerned about the increasing drought, forest fires or pests. Increased deforestation and slash-and-burn are at the expense of old forests and large trees. Seidl also sees evidence of this in some areas of Central Europe, for example in Slovakia and Poland. In contrast, forest management in Germany has become much more careful in recent decades.

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