PerspectiveClimate Change

Where Has All the Carbon Gone?

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Science  22 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5525, pp. 2261-2263
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061077

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The combustion of fossil fuels continues to rise, but the amount of COaccumulating in the atmosphere has not increased accordingly. As Wofsy explains in his Perspective, this discrepancy is explained by the ability of trees and organic matter in forests to sequester carbon ( Pacala et al., Fang et al.). Those making land use decisions should factor into their calculations the enormous benefits of forests as carbon sinks for removing anthropogenic COfrom the atmosphere.