Friday, February 03, 2012

Tropical Vegetation Soaks Up More Carbon Than Previous Estimates

The lush vegetation wrapping the center of the globe is one of the most important features for regulating a stable climate in the world.

Much excess CO2 emissions from industrialized regions find their way to the equator to be absorbed by abundant CO2-consuming plant life. However, as large tracts of tropical rainforest are cut down in the Amazon, Congo, and Southeast Asia, worries have grown that this vital region may turn from a carbon sink to a carbon source. Those worries can be put at ease somewhat thanks to a recent study from the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC).

Their report suggests that carbon storage of forests, shrublands, and savannas in the tropics are 21 percent higher than previously believed.

Larger carbon storage equates to a larger capacity to absorb and retain greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. The loss of carbon storage due to deforestation is still a concern, but has been overestimated. In fact, the net flux of carbon into the atmosphere from tropical vegetation loss is overestimated by up to 12 percent.

Data used excludes any information from Australia, so estimates may be somewhat inaccurate. Even so, it does conclude that the tropical forests are a very major carbon sink.

The full published article is here

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