World's biggest trees face dire future

 The world's biggest and most magnificent trees face a dire future - thanks to logging, deforestation, pest invasions and effects of climate change.

William Laurance, professor at James Cook University, warned that their demise will have substantial impact on biodiversity and forest ecology and worsen climate change too.

Reviewing research from forests around the world, Laurance wrote in the New Scientist magazine that "big trees need a safe place to live and long periods of stability. But time and stability are becoming very rare commodities in our modern world".

Giant trees offer critical habitat and forage for wildlife, while transpiring massive amounts of water through their leaves - contributing to local rainfall. Old trees also lock up massive amounts of carbon.

"But their ability to sequester carbon and render other ecosystem services is threatened by human activities. Some of the world's largest trees are particularly targeted by loggers.
"The oldest trees are among the most valuable and therefore the first to be cut in 'virgin' forest areas," he said, according to a university statement. 

"Big trees are also sensitive to habitat fragmentation, which exposes them to stronger winds and drier conditions," he said.

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