A large and persistent carbon sink in the world's forests.


Journal Article

The terrestrial carbon sink has been large in recent decades, but its size and location remain uncertain. Using forest inventory data and long-term ecosystem carbon studies, we estimate a total forest sink of 2.4 ± 0.4 petagrams of carbon per year (Pg C year(-1)) globally for 1990 to 2007. We also estimate a source of 1.3 ± 0.7 Pg C year(-1) from tropical land-use change, consisting of a gross tropical deforestation emission of 2.9 ± 0.5 Pg C year(-1) partially compensated by a carbon sink in tropical forest regrowth of 1.6 ± 0.5 Pg C year(-1). Together, the fluxes comprise a net global forest sink of 1.1 ± 0.8 Pg C year(-1), with tropical estimates having the largest uncertainties. Our total forest sink estimate is equivalent in magnitude to the terrestrial sink deduced from fossil fuel emissions and land-use change sources minus ocean and atmospheric sinks.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Pan, Y; Birdsey, RA; Fang, J; Houghton, R; Kauppi, PE; Kurz, WA; Phillips, OL; Shvidenko, A; Lewis, SL; Canadell, JG; Ciais, P; Jackson, RB; Pacala, SW; McGuire, AD; Piao, S; Rautiainen, A; Sitch, S; Hayes, D

Published Date

  • August 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 333 / 6045

Start / End Page

  • 988 - 993

PubMed ID

  • 21764754

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21764754

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1201609


  • eng