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Tropical forests are a net carbon source based on aboveground measurements of gain and loss

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Science  13 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6360, pp. 230-234
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam5962

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Forests out of balance

Are tropical forests a net source or net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide? As fundamental a question as that is, there still is no agreement about the answer, with different studies suggesting that it is anything from a sizable sink to a modest source. Baccini et al. used 12 years of MODIS satellite data to determine how the aboveground carbon density of woody, live vegetation has changed throughout the entire tropics on an annual basis. They find that the tropics are a net carbon source, with losses owing to deforestation and reductions in carbon density within standing forests being double that of gains resulting from forest growth.

Science, this issue p. 230