31 Jan 2012:
Tropics Store More Carbon
Than Previously Believed, Study Says
A new analysis calculates that vegetation in the world’s tropical regions stores about 229 billion tons of carbon
, which is about 21 percent more carbon than previously believed. Using remote sensing satellite
Click to enlarge
Woods Hole Research Center
Biomass in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
data — including cloud-penetrating LiDAR — and field observations from forests, woodlands and savannas across Africa, Asia, and South America, researchers say they were able to create the first “wall-to-wall” map depicting carbon density. According to their results, Brazilian rainforests store about 53.2 billion tons of carbon, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (22 billion) and Indonesia (18.6). “For the first time we were able to derive accurate estimates of carbon densities using satellite LiDAR observations in places that have never been measured,” said Alessandro Baccini of the Woods Hole Research Center
the lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change
. The results could help improve the accuracy of reporting carbon emissions as part of the UN-based REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) initiative, which provides incentives to developing nations to prevent large-scale deforestation.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.