Boreal Forests (nickname "The Taigas"?): 1. Tropical Forests: less than 1?
At last, the underdog Boreal Forests (http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/boreal.htm) are gaining ground against premiership leaders Tropical Forests in the race to save the planet. So much global publicity and funding is focused on the carbon, biodiversity and water management roles of tropical forests that the boreal forests rarely get a mention. But here's some good news for this important biome - European scientists looked at chemicals called terpenes that are released from boreal forests across northern regions such as Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. Terpenes give pine forests their distinctive smell, and the team found that they react in the air to form tiny aerosol particles that condensed water vapour and doubled the thickness of clouds above the forests, reflecting an extra 5% sunlight back into space. Over such a large area, and in such a finely balanced system, this could be an invaluable contribution.
Fortunately for tropical forests they can also do some of this - just not quite so well. O.K. pundits, off you go. I sense a vigorous debate on the way, as the Boreal Forests fight to claim their place in history. Or, rather, on Future Earth.