Small woodlands in the farms more helpful than forests

Small areas of woodlands in the farms provide more benefits for humans per area, compared to large forests, says a study.

People may not be so serious about having a small patche of land with woods in the farms as everybody argues for forests to stem the climate change. But such small areas can store more carbon in the topsoil layer and more suitable for hunting activities and host fewer ticks than large forests.

“The value of these tiny forests has never been unraveled before, although the occurrence of small woodlands in agricultural landscapes has increased due to forest fragmentation”, says Alicia Valdés, one of the authors of the study.

The reason why these tiny woodlands may provide us with more services is because they naturally have more edges exposed to the influence of the surrounding environment.

These tiny forests can also store more carbon per area in the topsoil layer than older big woodlands, because they have an increased soil biological activity, which makes them faster at absorbing organic matter. Potentially these can act as better carbon sinks and help counterbalance the effects of global warming.

Another benefit of the tiny forests is that they represent a lower risk of contracting a tick borne disease. This is because less tick larvae can survive in the dry and hot environments characterising woodland edges.

The study examined 224 forest patches across temperate Europe (France, Belgium, Germany and Sweden).

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