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Forests as rainmakers: CIFOR scientist gains support for a controversial hypothesis

A new study boosts support for the physics behind a controversial theory that forests play a significant role in determining rainfall, creating atmospheric winds that pump moisture across continents.

The model could revolutionise the way we understand local climates, and their vulnerability, with many major implications. It suggests, for instance, that by strategically replanting forests we could attract rainfall into desert and arid regions like the African Sahel, where drought has for years ravaged crops and induced famine.

Likewise, significant forest loss could transform lush tropical regions into arid landscapes.

“This theory provides us with yet another reason to protect and conserve forest cover,” said Douglas Sheil, co-author of the paper published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and a Senior Associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Blog story for CIFOR Forests News on controversial research on rainfall physics.

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