The speed at which trees grow has accelerated considerably since the 1960s – by as much as 77 per cent in the case of the beech – as climate change increases the temperature and lengthens the growing season, according to new research.
The rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is accelerating global warming is also playing a role in enhancing tree growth, as is the growing prevalence of nitrogen that has resulted from increasing car numbers, scientists said.
A study by Munich’s Technical University finds trees have been growing faster since the 1960s, making it easier to combat deforestation. The study, published in Nature Communications, found spruce trees now grow 32 per cent faster than they did in 1960.
“Three decades ago, ‘forest dieback’ was a hot topic. But instead of a collapse, the latest studies indicate that forests have actually been growing at a faster rate,” the report says. The study was based on 600,000 individual tree surveys conducted since 1870.