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RISING ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AND CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN FORESTS
Beedlow, P A., W E. Hogsett, D M. Olszyk, D L. Phillips, AND D T. Tingey. RISING ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AND CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN FORESTS. FRONTIERS IN ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT. Ecological Society of America, Ithaca, NY, 2(6):315-322, (2004).
Rising CO2 concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere could alter Earth's climate system, but it is thought that higher concentrations may improve plant growth by way of the fertilization effect. Forests, an important part of the Earth's carbon cycle, are postulated to sequester a significant amount of the CO2 released into the atmosphere by human activities. The amount that they sequester, it is hypothesized, will increase as levels rise. However, an increasing body of research suggests that the fertilization effect is limited by nutrients and air pollution in addition to the well documented limitations posed by temperature and precipitation. This review suggests that existing forests are not likely to increase sequestration as atmospheric CO2 increases. Therefore it is imperative that we manage our forests to maximize carbon retention in above- and below-ground biomass and conserve soil carbon.