Carbon Sequestration in Forest Ecosystems

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Carbon Sequestration in Forest Ecosystems Amid growing concerns about increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mitigation techniques that reduce levels of greenhouse gases are receiving attention as a possible remedy for climate change. Forest ecosystems play an important role in the global carbon cycle, but there are still questions about how significant of a role they play and how manipulating management plans affects a forested area’s carbon sequestration potential. Various factors such as land-use history, age of a forest stand, and potential feedback processes must all be taken into account when determining if forests are a feasible method of climate change mitigation. The implications of forested areas providing a low-cost method of carbon sequestration with multiple auxiliary benefits are a subject of interest for scientists and policymakers searching for solutions to the global climate crisis. The observed increase in global greenhouse gas emissions is cited as a likely cause of the recorded increase in global average temperatures following the Industrial Revolution (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2007). Carbon dioxide is considered to be the most significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas; between 1970 and 2004, its emissions grew by 80% primarily due to fossil fuel use and land- use changes (IPCC, 2007). Although there are many naturally occurring sources and sinks of carbon, anthropogenic forces have resulted in a shift in a historically balanced system towards a scenario where emissions are now significantly greater than earth’s ability to act as a carbon sink. In order for the carbon cycle to return to a balanced state, there must be decreases in the levels of carbon em... ... middle of paper ... ... to help offset carbon emissions can serve as a tool with multiple benefits. Not only will managing forests for carbon sequestration decrease levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it will also provide the multiple beneficial ecosystem services forests have to offer such as water filtration, erosion prevention, and wildlife habitat. Estimates of the magnitude of carbon sequestration forests can provide vary and are affected by factors such as limiting resources and management practices that are complex and difficult to predict. However, there is no question that carbon sequestration in forests will play a small but significant role in mitigating climate change. If the climate crisis is to be solved, scientists and policymakers must use every tool at their disposal, including taking advantage of earth’s natural processes, such as forest carbon sequestration.

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