From our friends at Center for Western Priorities. Honestly I kind of got a laugh out of this, as plants, animals, insects and so on picked up on this billions of years ago. It’s not the study so much, but the CWP summary…
The findings suggest the cooling effect is strongest in boreal forests at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, which make up about 27 percent of total global forest area.
The researchers attribute the cooler temperatures to the fact that protected forests have more vegetation and a more complex structure that creates a buffer against heat. An analysis of forest canopies shows protected areas have higher leaf densities, which means more shade and cooler temperatures that help protect biodiversity near the forest floor.
“The cooling effect is very important for life below the tree canopy near the ground,” said co-author Pieter De Frenne, a climate researcher at the University of Ghent. He added that most forest biodiversity is in that zone, including in temperate, mid-latitude forests.
Oregon State University forest ecologist Matthew Betts said the findings of the study are important but that further research is needed to determine how they hold up in the United States.
“At the moment we don’t have under-canopy data for large tracts of the planet,” he said. “Pieter has done a great job of implementing a network of under-canopy climate stations across Europe, but we don’t have anything like that in North America.”
I’d say unless they’re burned up… say, for example my photo of the Hayman Fire above. I don’t have too many photos because my friends don’t like to hike there.. due to lack of shade. Oh well, I suppose there could be a study of that. I think that was the point of Zach Steele and coauthors in the paper mentioned in posts here and here last week, that forested lands can lose “forested” old-growth-y habitat due to wildfires, regardless of the level of “protection” unless “protection” involves being protected from wildfires..
I’m kind of against using satellite data to make Global Pronouncements of What We Need to Do, as an average across the world is meaningless to a piece of land. A So it amounts to a new class of folks -“climate scientists” telling local people and governments what to do in the name of “climate” .. oh and “biodiversity.” There’s obviously a power and privilege dynamic here with research institutions, scientific journals (wow, they say their conclusions impact the whole planet!), the media, and international ENGO’s who support this kind of thing, apparently uncritically. The voices questioning this tend to be social scientists, continually pointing out what I have just said, but the climate/media/ENGO behemoth rolls on. Thanks to you social scientists, you have many supporters!
How’s this title for hubris: Protected areas provide thermal buffer against climate change.
Maybe people from mesic areas don’t have the understanding and experience of shade that those of us from drier areas do. Or perhaps it’s just disciplinary swamping and rediscovery of what we already know by People With Large Datasets.