Tree Frog Forestry News

Forests can be risky climate investments to offset greenhouse gas emissions

By Kerry Bennett, Office of the Vice President for Research
Northern Arizona Univerisity News
June 19, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. …it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust—through severe droughts or wildfires, researchers say—much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke. Professor Scott Goetz and associate professor Deborah Huntzinger, both of Northern Arizona University, found that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to forests that climate change itself imposes. …forests are able to store carbon for at least 50 to 100 years. Such permanence is not always a given, with the very real chance that the carbon stored in forest mitigation projects could go up in flames or be lost due to insect infestations, severe drought or hurricanes in the coming decades.

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