Carbon Capture in Forest Soils

Dr. Luke Nave

In this short video, forest ecology researcher Dr. Luke Nave (University of Michigan Biological Station) describes recently completed research to quantify the amount of carbon captured from the atmosphere by areas of reforestation throughout the United States. In referring to reforesting land, Nave says that includes areas that once were cultivated and areas that experience forms of deforestation such as fire.

Using well-documented research data and direct measurements, Nave and his colleagues focused only on those areas that are being reforested. They concluded that about 1 or 2 billion metric tons of carbon would  be captured and sequestered in the soils of just these reforesting areas over the next century. In other words, about 10% to 20% of all carbon captured by forests in the Unites States is in the soils of these reforesting areas.

Therefore, the reforestation currently underway, Nave says, is critically important to the atmospheric carbon budget. Those efforts should continue. But with just a little more reforestation, says Nave, there could be a much greater amount of carbon captured and sequestered in these areas. Such efforts could be very significant and a welcome contribution to helping to off-set carbon dioxide discharges now and in the future.

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