Despite a global environmental treaty in 1992 to reduce man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, the world's remaining forests are burdened with the massive and explosive carbon emissions. Although data seems inconclusive in most parts of Asia, it looks as if the Philippines generally has a collection of fragmented forests.
Greg Asner, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, the new system ó known as AToMS, or the Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System ó has the potential to transform how tropical forest research is conducted.
AToMS helps scientists map and evaluate biodiversity covering hectares in a day. This, compared to groundwork, will increase scientists information and enable them to see more clearly the state of forests and predict what climate change will bring in the next few years as forests continue to die around the world. We are fortunate that our forests do not experience water stress and extreme heat unlike those in Western territories. When trees die, they release the carbon dioxide they absorbed back to the atmosphere.
Recently, scientists are actually worried that more forests are dying in a pace beyond normal.
Let me share with you what I have learned in the previous weeks. The impact of climate change will continue in the next decades. Planting 1 million hectares of trees will not stop the droughts, extreme weather conditions nor the flooding. But if we continue to ignore and let our forests die, we are bound to lose species that are critically endangered that these changes in temperature can actually make them extinct.
We need a lot of ground work, on one hand to make sure biodiversity assessments are accurate and correct, and to ensure that the seedlings live long enough to be able to absorb more carbon emissions. This trend raises the need for more forest specialists and protectors. Looking at the global trend, I think conservation experts will soon be in demand and command higher wages with their specialized knowledge and trainings.
In the Philippines, where technology and even specialized research training lags, I am just crossing my fingers that we come up to our senses and become proactive instead of regret our inaction.