The rate at which we're chopping down the world's
forests is declining - and in future, crops and newly planted
forests could help prevent more climate change, according to the
But uncertainties surrounding how we measure
emissions, and what changing temperatures will mean for the world's
forests, mean it's hard to be sure this is a good news story.
Emissions from farming, deforestation and other land
use are going down, and are expected to continue doing so in the
future. By the end of the century, humanity could use the land as a
carbon sink, rather than a source of emissions, according to the
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s latest
It sounds like one piece of good news among
gloomy predictions from the IPCC.
But human land use is only one part of a complex picture.
Climate change could lead to forests
drying out, releasing more carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere. And using trees, crops and plants as a
source of energy instead of fossil fuels could also lead to more
Agriculture, forestry and other land use account for
about a quarter (24 per cent) of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Most of these emissions come from deforestation, changes to the
soil and livestock farming.