Wrong. Dead wrong.
Worse: The worst deforested areas are those LEAST able to get coal or oil burning energy. IF we could generate heat and power for these people - which their rulers refuse too permit, and which the enviro's cannot let start - THEN we would see deforestation for firewood eliminated.
Current levels of CO2 have INCREASED production of ALL plant matter and forests - the AVERAGE increase in production of food and fodder and woodlands is 17% - with most crops growing more than 12-27% MORE productively than at lower CO2 levels. Plus, HIGHER CO2 levels let crops tolerate MORE heat - though now we may be approaching a cold spell.
Let us hope it is “only” the usual few hundred years, not a full-scale Ice Age.
“Globally, forests (tropical and mid-latitude) are NOT disappearing: today, they are 99.5% as much as they were at mid-century, and in the US in particular, have increased significantly”
This is not true on many, many levels.
You are misusing the term “forest”. A natural forest is represented by a wide range of plants (and animals) that are part of the system referred to as a forest. A forest has large mature tree, intermediary aged trees, young trees, canopy, understory, substrate each providing uniqe environments for a wide rnage of bacteria, algae, animals, understory plants, and ultimately the trees. You get the picture.
We may have lots of trees now, but there are so many acres of commercial tree farms and pine plantations that many people mistake for real, ecological, forests. These operations control develoment and what types of trees are grown, they kill off all other plants, no or limited understory, etc. You get the picture. You cannot compare commercial tree growing operations to natural forests. Its like dumping a large bag of salt into a swimming pool and then declaring that we have more ocean now then before- hey its a big body of salt water.
I may concede that there may be more trees (not forests) in the US since the middle of the century (1940’s-1950’s). After WWII there was a (GI BIll) construction boom that called for a tremendous amount of wood. At the same time modern ag practices increased productivity and allowed for fewer acres in crops. Lots of farmers may have found acres of pine may have brought a higher profit then then crops.
Next Point- Deforestation for firewood is a tiny bit of the problem. The biggest problem is commercial, raw material procurement. Coal and oil is not much of an issue.
In regards to increased production via CO2. Could be a blip and wouldn’t be surprising. However you are mistaking crop productivity with photosynthesis. Crop productivity isn’t really a good measure of photosynthesis potential. NAtural forest land provides the diversity that allows for different fluctuation. Ag fields and controlled commercial tree plantations are not that helpful in the long run.