A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World's Forests
Yude Pan, Richard A. Birdsey, Jingyun Fang, Richard Houghton, Pekka E. Kauppi, Werner A. Kurz, Oliver L. Phillips, Anatoly Shvidenko, Simon L. Lewis, Josep G. Canadell, Philippe Ciais, Robert B. Jackson, Stephen Pacala, A. David McGuire, Shilong Piao, Aapo Rautiainen, Stephen Sitch, Daniel Hayes.
Published Online July 14 2011
Vol. 333 no. 6045 pp. 988-993, DOI: 10.1126/science.1201609
The terrestrial carbon sink is large but its size and location remain uncertain. Using forest inventory data and long-term ecosystem carbon studies, a new study estimates a total forest sink of 2.4±0.4 Pg C yr-1 globally for 1990-2007, - equivalent to one third of current annual fossil fuel emissions.
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 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.
- Download paper from Science Express (subscription required) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6045/988
- Contact lead author: Yude Pan
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- Summary Results (ppt 2.3mb; pdf 392kb)
- US Forest Service Press release
- CSIRO Press release (pdf 22kb)
- University of Leeds Press release (pdf, 20kb)
- IIASA Press release
- ABC AM radio speaking with Werner Kurz and Pep Canadell
- Media clips (file1 pdf 9.8mb; file2 pdf 9.6mb; file3 pdf 8.9mb; file4 pdf 7.7mb; file5 pdf 6.6mb)
- CSIRO podcast (mp3, 8.9mb) or listen online
|Illustrative Photos (available free if credited as specified)|
Tropical Forest remove large quantities of atmospheric carbon dioxide (Borneo depicted).
Karri forest near Pemberton, WA.
Plantations of Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus nitens in Gippsland (Victoria, Australia). Photo credit: Michael Ryan
Forest plantation near Cobram, Victoria. 1989.
Ecuador forested landscape, from the Amazon to the Andes.
Mixed Beech forest in the mountains of warm temperate region in China.
Deforestation in the Amazon.
Crown fire in lowland black spruce, northern Alberta, Canada.