A matter of tree longevity

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Science  13 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6321, pp. 130-131
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal2449

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There is much scientific and political interest in using the transfer of carbon from the atmosphere to the biosphere, or carbon sequestration, to help mitigate the greenhouse effect (1). Because plants fix carbon dioxide (CO2) by photosynthesis and store carbon in their body (close to half of plant dry matter is carbon), faster carbon uptake by plants through faster growth is widely held to increase carbon sequestration. Yet, this assumption is supported by neither theory nor evidence. Any gain in carbon storage from faster tree growth will be transitory.