US & European Forests Become Much Denser, Storing More Carbon

forest photo

photo: Hunter Desportes/Creative Commons

An interesting finding on carbon storage of forests and deforestation: According to new research published in PLoS ONE, at least in Europe, North America and in the South American forests examined, increased forest density means that more carbon is being stored by area than in the past. This means that even in places where forest cover is not expanding, carbon storage in what forest remains is increasing.The study looked at 68 nations, accounting for 72% of the forested land in the world.

Looking at the United States, though on the whole forests only grew 1% between 1953-2007, forest density increased 51%. In Africa and South America, 10% of forest cover was lost during the past 20 years, but carbon storage potential declined less than that. In Asia forest density increased in nearly half the countries surveyed, though due to massive losses in the forest cover in Indonesia (an ongoing pervasive problem, as many TreeHugger readers likely know) carbon storage potential in the region remained flat.

Read the original research: A National and International Analysis of Changing Forest Density
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