‘Sink’ Setback

Tropical Forests Releasing Excess Carbon




Dirk Ercken/Shutterstock.com

A study published in the journal Science found that forests across Asia, Latin America and Africa release 468 tons of carbon per year, equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the annual U.S. carbon footprint. Thus, tropical forests may no longer be acting as carbon sinks and could be releasing more carbon than they store.

Lead author Alessandro Baccini, with the Woods Hole Research Center, in Massachusetts, says, “These findings provide the world with a wake-up call on forests. If we’re to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels, we need to drastically reduce emissions and greatly increase forests’ ability to absorb and store carbon.”

Researchers think nearly 70 percent of this loss of carbon storage capacity is caused by small-scale degradation from logging, drought and wildfire. Researchers say that policies to curb deforestation, reduce degradation and restore the integrity of the land could turn forests back into carbon sinks.


This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Dirt Houses Cancer-Protective Microbe

Soil contains bacteria that kills melanoma cancer cells, say Oregon State University researchers.

Doctors Underestimate Opioid Prescriptions

A survey of 109 emergency room doctors found they frequently underestimated how often they prescribed opioids and that they prescribed fewer when alerted to the situation.

Asthma Less Likely to Afflict Breastfed Kids

Dutch children that had been breastfed had a 45 percent lower incidence of asthma later in childhood.

Spanking Linked to Mental Health Problems

Adults that were spanked as children turned out to have a higher risk of depression, suicide attempts, drinking and drug use, according to University of Michigan researchers.

Wild Berries Prove Anti-Cancer Prowess

A naturally occurring compound found abundantly in wild berries increases the cancer-fighting ability of sirtuin 6 enzymes.

Add your comment: