European Primary Forests Hold 1.6 Times More Carbon Than Previously Thought

A groundbreaking study reveals that primary forests across 27 European countries store significantly more carbon than previously estimated, with large trees accounting for 50% of the biomass, highlighting the critical role of preserving and restoring forests in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change." This description focuses on the primary topic of the study's findings on carbon storage in European primary forests, the main entity being the forests themselves, and the context of climate change mitigation. It also conveys the significant implication of the discovery for global efforts to combat climate change. The description provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as depicting a lush and dense forest with large trees, emphasizing the importance of conservation and restoration efforts.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
European Primary Forests Hold 1.6 Times More Carbon Than Previously Thought

European Primary Forests Hold 1.6 Times More Carbon Than Previously Thought

A groundbreaking study has revealed that primary forests across 27 European countries store significantly more carbon than previously estimated. The research, which measured carbon stock in 7,982 primary forest sites, found that the biomass carbon stock per hectare is 1.6 times larger than modeled.

Why this matters: This discovery has significant implications for global efforts to combat climate change, as it highlights the critical role that preserving and restoring forests can play in reducing carbon emissions. Accurate carbon accounting and sustainable forest management practices can help countries meet their climate goals and mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

The study, published in a data publishing journal, discovered that large trees account for 50% of the biomass in these primary forests. Researchers estimated that protecting, restoring, and growing existing forests could result in a carbon gain of 309 megatons CO2 equivalents per year, comparable to the European Union's Green Deal 2030 target for carbon dioxide removals.

The findings underscore the critical importance of accurate carbon accounting in the land sector, particularly in forests, where carbon flows between the biosphere and atmosphere are naturally bidirectional. Current accounting methods do not distinguish between different ecosystem conditions, which can lead to unintended consequences such as emissions from forest harvesting being netted out against removals from the entire forest area.

To address this issue, the researchers propose an ecologically based reference level for forest ecosystems. This approach is crucial for ensuring consistent information regarding past carbon stock loss, predicting potential gains in stocks, and determining foregone mitigation benefits. It provides an alternative accounting solution that can be implemented under the Paris Agreement.

The discovery of this higher-than-expected carbon stock in European primary forests highlights the vital role these ecosystems play in combating climate change. By protecting and restoring these forests, countries can make significant strides in reducing their carbon footprint and meeting their climate goals, aligning with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Climate Pact to stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentration and limit temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The study's comprehensive methodology, measuring carbon stock in 7,982 primary forest sites across 27 European countries, provides a robust understanding of the region's forest carbon storage capacity. As nations work to mitigate the impacts of climate change, this research emphasizes the need for conservation and restoration efforts to safeguard these vital ecosystems and their immense potential for carbon sequestration.

Key Takeaways

  • Primary forests in 27 European countries store 1.6 times more carbon than previously estimated.
  • Large trees account for 50% of biomass in these forests.
  • Protecting and restoring forests could result in a carbon gain of 309 megatons CO2 equivalents per year.
  • Accurate carbon accounting is crucial for sustainable forest management and climate goals.
  • Conservation and restoration efforts can help countries meet Paris Agreement objectives.