Questions for “The faster trees grow, the younger they die”

an aerial photo of dying evergreen trees in a forest

Fast-growing trees die younger, releasing the carbon they had stored back into the atmosphere.

ollo/E+ Collection/Getty Images Plus

To accompany “The faster trees grow, the younger they die


Before Reading:

1. Trees can be very long-lived. What are some of different factors that can shorten their lives?

2. Trees can play an important role in affecting Earth’s climate. What are some of the ways they do that?

During Reading:

1.  What is a major way that trees can help fight climate change, based on the story?

2.  What does it mean that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? When, and for how long, is a tree useful in locking away this gas?

3.  What is the carbon flux described in this story? How is it like a bank account?

4.  What are two types of information that tree rings record?

5.  For a given tree species, how much faster, on average, did a fast-growing tree die compared to a slow-growing one?

6.  What is the take-home message from the new study in terms of climate, according to Dilys Vela Díaz?

After Reading:

1.  If Dilys Vela Díaz is right, what would be two good choices for climate-helping trees to grow in your region? (Keep in mind that the trees have to grow well in your local soils and climate.) What would be a particularly bad choice for your area? Explain your selections.

2.  Based upon the role of trees in storing carbon, what role do you think forest fires may play in climate change? How about using trees for fences? Or for home building? Or for furniture?