Biomass Carbon Stocks, Sources & Sinks

  • How much carbon is emitted every year?
          Human activities, namely burning of fossil fuels, cement production, cutting and burning of trees, result in emissions of about 7 to 8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere a year presently.

  • What happens to the emitted carbon?
          About half of it stays in the atmosphere, as carbon dioxide (CO2). Of the other half, some goes in to the oceans and the rest in to the land. CO2 in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming.

  • Is carbon accumulating in the atmosphere, then?
          Yes, ...

  • Where is carbon on land?
          Carbon on land is contained in various pools such as vegetation, detritus, soil, black carbon residue from fires, harvested products, etc.

  • How does carbon end up on land?
          Green plants take in CO2 from the atmosphere during day time and combine it with water and nutrients to produce sugars. This is called photosynthesis.

  • How does carbon leave the land?
          Breathing by plants. Decomposition of plant litter fallen to the ground by critters. Forest fires. And so on.

  • How much carbon is accumulating on land?
          About 1 to 2 bilion tons of carbon a year are somehow being stored in land carbon pools (vegetation, soil, etc.) in the northerly regions.

  • What is the 1980s and 1990s carbon budget?
          See this table.

  • Is it better to let carbon accumulate on land or the ocean rather than in the atmosphere?
          Yes, so long as carbon is kept out of the atmosphere.

  • What is this study about?
          We analyzed 19 years of data ...

  • Why is this research important?
          Because ...

  • What are forests?
          Remote sensing land covers ...

  • What is woody biomass?
          Wood in a forest ...

  • What is your major finding?
          discovered the location of some of the missing carbon

  • What else did you find?
          Research Highlights...

  • Biomass Carbon Stocks, Sources & Sinks
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    Dec-11-2001
    rmyneni@bu.edu