Yep, you read that correct, tree farts. I’ve been walking in Edmonton’s river valley a lot this year and I’ve noticed a lot of standing dead trees, often called snags. I don’t know if there’s actually more than normal around here but in coastal areas there has been an increase thanks to climate change.
Climate change is resulting in rising sea levels. This rising water is converting forests to marshland, leaving ghost forests or forests of snags behind. And this can in turn contribute to climate change.
While living trees capture carbon from the atmosphere and lock it into the mass of the tree. But when a tree dies it starts to break down, releasing multiple greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. While they don’t release as much as the soil does, these ghost forest trees can contribute 25% to the overall emissions from the ecosystem (Martinez & Ardón, 2021).
The next time I walk past a dead tree I am definitely going to be thinking about all the tree farts and about what is the next action I can take to contribute to preventing.