Trees Absorb a Fifth of Carbon Emissions Pumped Out by Humans

Washington, DC (February 19, 2009)- The journal Nature published a study that found nearly one-fifth of fossil fuel emissions are absorbed by forests across Africa, Amazonia, and Asia. Lewis found that on average the trees are getting bigger and absorbing more CO2, contrary to the theory that mature forests are carbon neutral as a result of the carbon absorbed by new trees being balanced by that released from old trees dying.

Dr. Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Leeds and author of the paper, added a 40-year study of African forests to existing data on South American and Asian forests, and concluded, “Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18 percent of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of climate change.”
The findings could be used to pressure world leaders to halt deforestation, Lewis said. “It’s good news for now but the effect won’t last forever. The trees can’t keep on getting bigger and bigger,” Lewis noted.
Related Resources:
Journal Nature- Trees Absorb a Fifth of Carbon Emissions Pumped Out by Humans
AP- African forests gobble up more CO2: study
Guardian- Bigger trees helping fight against climate change
Telegraph- Trees absorb a fifth of carbon emissions pumped out by humans