NASA discovers tropical forest absorb more CO2 than expected

NASA has some good news for us. Apparently a recent study by the space giant reveals tropical forests might be able to absorb a great deal more CO2 than scientists thought. It’s yet another reason why it’s vital to halt deforestation in its tracks and preserve our rainforests in any and every way we can.

It’s official: Tropical forests absorb more CO2 than boreal forests

The research estimates tropical forests absorb around 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion tons. Which is much, much more than forests in cooler northern regions can absorb. It’s great news because the uptake of CO2 in cooler, boreal forests appears to be slowing down. Tropical forests, on the other hand, look like they’ll be able to mop up carbon for many years to come.

Plant-power could help save our bacon

At the moment forests and land plants soak up as much as 30% of human-generated CO2 from our atmosphere during photosynthesis. If it slows down, global warming will speed up. This research is the first to make like-for-like comparisons about CO2 emissions from multiple sources to different scales.

The information used includes ecosystem computer models and inverse atmospheric models, satellite images, experimental forest plot data and more, reconciling different trusted analyses to reveal a brand new estimate of tropical carbon absorption.

The first solid global reconciliation of CO2’s effects

It’s important because it’s the first time anyone has successfully completed a global reconciliation of the effects of CO2 using atmospheric, forestry and modelling research. And the answers the science provides helps answer a vital question for the first time: which type of forest is the bigger carbon absorber.

As ever, knowledge is power. The answers the science provides have dramatic implications for our understanding of terrestrial ecosystems and how they can offset human-related carbon dioxide emissions.


Article by The Rainforest Foundation.

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