Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests

By Yude Pan, Richard A. Birdsey, Jingyun Fang, et.al.
Cambridge, UK (July 14, 2011)- The terrestrial carbon (C) sink has been large in recent decades, but its size and location remain uncertain. Using forest inventory data and long-term ecosystem C studies, we estimated a total forest sink of 2.4 ± 0.4 Pg C yr-1 globally for 1990-2007.


We also estimated a source of 1.3 ± 0.7 Pg C yr-1 from tropical land-use change, consisting of a gross tropical deforestation emission of 2.9 ± 0.5 Pg C yr-1 partially compensated by a C sink in tropical forest regrowth of 1.6 ± 0.5 Pg C yr-1.
Together, the fluxes comprise a net global forest sink of 1.1 ± 0.8 Pg C yr-1, with tropical estimates having the largest uncertainties. This forest sink is equivalent in magnitude to the terrestrial sink deduced from fossil fuel emissions and constraints of ocean and atmospheric sinks.
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Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests

NY Times Summary of Carbon Sink Study