The Islander, forests, water, urbanism and its effects.

Building
Wood products used in buildings.

Let us discuss some science in a shorter format. The world has just celebrated the world water and forest day a few day ago. Unfortunately, i forgot to change my facebook profile to imitate the trend.  All said and done humans have been linked to a massive change in climatic conditions because of our consumptive nature.

The result climate-related changes and effects on the comfort of the urban residents. Currently, in Kenya, the heat wave has reached alarming rate in Mombasa and Nairobi as the weatherman warns against heat stroke.

Climatic changes have also led to shifts in available water for use and consumption effectively affecting the availability of food and food production. I will not dwell much on the links for today.

However, the celebration of these two events especially the world forest day is a major step towards keeping our environment safe from the adverse effects of climate-related changes. Research suggests that

  • Some 15-18% of global carbon emissions are from forest loss and land-use change – mainly in the tropics.
  • More carbon is released into the atmosphere than what comes from the fossil fuel-intensive global transport sector.
  • In many developing countries, emissions from land-use change account for 60-90% of total national emissions especially the cut and burn processes.

The coastal urbanite and climate effects

Urbanization according to Brittanica is the process by which large numbers of people become permanently concentrated in relatively small areas, forming cities. Coastal areas attract a large number of people to the small cities due to the allure of the coasts. This concentration is a major factor in the increase of emissions in the atmosphere as the world works hard to reduce it.

The effects of the large urban population along this towns include:

  • Urban climate, urban heat island (UHI) effect
  • Changes in land surface temperature when vegetation is replaced with parking lots, streets, buildings.
  • car emiisionUHIs can produce secondary effects on local meteorology, including the altering of local wind patterns, the development of clouds and fog, the humidity, and the rates of precipitation.
  • Urban areas can be up to 8 degrees warmer than surrounding suburban or natural landscapes

Forests and the saving of the Islander

Over a hundred-year time span, forest residues cause the least climate impact, but they still heat the atmosphere by 20–40 times compared to the amount of energy it produces. Natural gas heats the atmosphere 100–110 times and coal 170–190 times the amount of energy they produce.

Cleared mangroves at Lamu

Tropical forests are important in addressing global climate change.  At the global level, forest ecosystems could play a significant role in atmospheric carbon sequestration.

On the other hand, vulnerable poor communities depend on forest goods and services to adapt to impacts of climate change at the national and local levels.

Tropical forests are considered as safety nets as they provide several goods and services to help people survive in times of crisis. These crises include drought or flood-induced crop failures, poor health, energy shortage and climate change through carbon filtering (sequestering).

Sustainably managing forests to both provide for social benefits (fuel, fodder), as well as environmental benefits (ecosystem services) is a definite move towards climate mitigation. Forests weather close to the Islands as in mangroves forests, or the tropical forests example the Kakamega forest, assures sustainability and environmental-friendly,  cities through green initiatives as well as providing the required services for humanity to exist.

 

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