This article was originally published on Phys.org


“Researchers have calculated the capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon in a detailed analysis that for the first time integrates the effects of two key factors: the natural process of forest growth and regeneration, and climate changes that are likely to alter the growth process over the next 60 years.

The result is a compelling picture that’s of great value, because forests play a critical role in mitigating the effects of  change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, storing the carbon in their wood.

“There’s a lot of hope that our forests will soak up the carbon dioxide we’re producing, but the capacity of our forests is limited,” said lead researcher Kai Zhu, an assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Zhu’s team found that North American forests have reached 78 percent of their capacity to sequester carbon and will gain only 22 percent capacity—at most—over the next 60 years. That’s a cautionary finding that has implications for  managers, climate scientists, and policy makers…”

Read on at: Phys.org