Species Reintroduction to Save the Permafrost: Background information when reading The Treeline

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The Treeline

The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth

by Ben Rawlence

The Treeline by Ben Rawlence X
The Treeline by Ben Rawlence
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2022, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Dec 12, 2023, 320 pages

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Rose Rankin
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About this Book

Species Reintroduction to Save the Permafrost

This article relates to The Treeline

Drawing of wooly mammoths and other animals grazing on steppeIn his book The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth, Ben Rawlence describes how global warming is altering northern ecosystems like the tundra of Siberia. As temperatures rise, the permafrost no longer lives up to its name; instead of staying permanently frozen, the ice within is melting. This causes the ground to collapse into sinkholes as the water drains away, or the soil turns to slush underground, as Siberian scientists are finding.

As it warms, the permafrost releases greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that have been trapped in the ice for eons. This aggravates the warming that is causing the melting in the first place, since these gases trap more heat in the atmosphere and warm the ground temperatures further.

In a bid to stop this runaway feedback loop, scientists are advocating to reintroduce large mammal species that may be able to restore tundra ecosystems and slow down the melting of the permafrost. As Joshua Yaffa explains ...

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