Global Carbon Cycle

Seeing the forest from the trees

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Science  17 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6245, pp. 280-281
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6245.280-e

Boreal forests contain nearly half of the carbon stored by the trees of the world,and thus are a critical component of the global carbon cycle. How much carbon is contained in this part of the ecosystem still is inadequately known, though. Chen and Luo studied the net annual above-ground biomass change of four major boreal forest types in western Canada over the period between 1958 and 2011 and found that it declined for all of those groups. They attribute the loss to increased tree mortality and reduced growth, caused mostly by persistent warming and decreasing water availability, trends that are expected to escalate in the future.

Global Change Biol. 10.1111/gcb.12994 (2015).

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