NEW YORK, March 29 — New research suggests that the world’s forests play an even more important and complex role than previously thought. In addition to being powerful carbon sinks, they may have a direct effect on global and local temperatures.

Forests have an invaluable impact on climate change, even though they are being depleted by global warming. However, a new study highlights their ability to keep the air near and far cool and moist through the way they transform energy and water.

This effect was observed in tropical rainforests spanning Latin America, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, particularly those in Brazil, Guatemala, Chad, Cameroon and Indonesia. In these countries, the forests help cool the temperature by 1°C.

Forests are essential to mitigation as well as adaptation, states the study, carried out by researchers in the US and Colombia. Published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, the study recalls the importance of forests in climate regulation, whether it is for cooling the air, or protection from droughts, extreme heat or floods.

So how do these forests actually stabilise the climate? By emitting biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), which notably promote the creation of clouds and cool the local area.

“The importance of forests for both global climate change mitigation and local adaptation by human and non-human species is not adequately captured by current carbon-centric metrics, particularly in the context of future climate warming,” the study concludes. — ETX Studio