Who would have ever guessed trees store carbon by utilizing the gas of plant photosynthesis, carbon dioxide, and in an “immense, profound” way? From the Institute of Arctic Biology, where they seem to see no positive benefit to this, but worry about fires and insect damages instead. In a previous story, it was shown by NASA that the biosphere is booming thanks to CO2.
World’s forests role in carbon storage immense, profound
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 July 2011
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Until now, scientists were uncertain about how much and where in the world terrestrial carbon is being stored. In the July 14 issue of Science Express, scientists report that, between 1990 and 2007, the world’s forests stored about 2.4 gigatons of carbon per year.
Their results suggest that forests account for almost all of the world’s land-based carbon uptake. Boreal forests are estimated to be responsible for 22 percent of the carbon stored in the forests. A warming climate has the potential to increase fires and insect damage in the boreal forest and reduce its capacity to sequester carbon.
“Our results imply that clearly, forests play a critical role in Earth’s terrestrial carbon balance, and exert considerable control over the evolution of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” said A. David McGuire, co-author and professor of ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology and co-leader of the USGS Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
The report includes comprehensive estimates of carbon for the world’s forests based on recent inventory data. The scientists included information on changes in carbon pools from dead wood, harvested wood products, living plants and plant litter, and soils to estimate changes in carbon across countries, regions and continents that represent boreal, temperate and tropical forests.
The authors note that understanding the present and future role of forests in the sequestration and emission of carbon is essential for informed discussions on limiting greenhouse gases.
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ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: A. David McGuire, professor of landscape ecology, Institute of Arctic Biology, USGS Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 907-474-6242, firstname.lastname@example.org
AUTHORS: USDA Forest Service, Newtown Square, PA, USA. Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, 100871 China. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093 China. Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, USA. University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Victoria, Canada. School of Geography, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria. Global Carbon project, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, Australia. Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE) CEA-UVSQ-CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, France. Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA. U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, USA.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Email is the best method for contacting McGuire. The abstract for the paper, “A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests,” is available at: www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/07/13/science.1201609