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06 Aug 2008 04:08:22

Natural forests store 60% more carbon

Natural forests store 60% more carbon
Untouched natural forests store three more times carbon than previously thought and up to 60 per cent more than planned and planted forests, according to a new study.

In a study of green carbon – which occurs in natural forests- scientists at the Australian National University said that natural forests can carry more carbon than had previously been considered.

As a result, the current carbon storage capacity has been underestimated because the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used estimates based on plantation forests.

"In Australia and probably globally, the carbon carrying capacity of natural forests is underestimated and therefore misrepresented in economic valuations and in policy options," said the report released on Tuesday.

The role of natural forests in carbon storage highlights the importance of keeping natural forests intact and the need to curtail logging of these natural carbon sinks.

Report co-author Brendan Mackey told Reuters that protecting natural forests would help keep the carbon sinks in operation and prevent the release of all the carbon stored in them: "Protecting the carbon in natural forests is preventing an additional emission of carbon from what we get from burning fossil fuel."

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