• Media type: E-Article
  • Title: Integrated global assessment of the natural forest carbon potential
  • Contributor: Mo, Lidong; Zohner, Constantin M.; Reich, Peter B.; Liang, Jingjing; de Miguel, Sergio; Nabuurs, Gert-Jan; Renner, Susanne S.; van den Hoogen, Johan; Araza, Arnan; Herold, Martin; Mirzagholi, Leila; Ma, Haozhi; Averill, Colin; Phillips, Oliver L.; Gamarra, Javier G. P.; Hordijk, Iris; Routh, Devin; Abegg, Meinrad; Adou Yao, Yves C.; Alberti, Giorgio; Almeyda Zambrano, Angelica M.; Alvarado, Braulio Vilchez; Alvarez-Dávila, Esteban; Alvarez-Loayza, Patricia; [...]
  • imprint: Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2023
  • Published in: Nature
  • Language: English
  • DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06723-z
  • ISSN: 0028-0836; 1476-4687
  • Origination:
  • Footnote:
  • Description: <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Forests are a substantial terrestrial carbon sink, but anthropogenic changes in land use and climate have considerably reduced the scale of this system<jats:sup>1</jats:sup>. Remote-sensing estimates to quantify carbon losses from global forests<jats:sup>2–5</jats:sup> are characterized by considerable uncertainty and we lack a comprehensive ground-sourced evaluation to benchmark these estimates. Here we combine several ground-sourced<jats:sup>6</jats:sup> and satellite-derived approaches<jats:sup>2,7,8</jats:sup> to evaluate the scale of the global forest carbon potential outside agricultural and urban lands. Despite regional variation, the predictions demonstrated remarkable consistency at a global scale, with only a 12% difference between the ground-sourced and satellite-derived estimates. At present, global forest carbon storage is markedly under the natural potential, with a total deficit of 226 Gt (model range = 151–363 Gt) in areas with low human footprint. Most (61%, 139 Gt C) of this potential is in areas with existing forests, in which ecosystem protection can allow forests to recover to maturity. The remaining 39% (87 Gt C) of potential lies in regions in which forests have been removed or fragmented. Although forests cannot be a substitute for emissions reductions, our results support the idea<jats:sup>2,3,9</jats:sup> that the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of diverse forests offer valuable contributions to meeting global climate and biodiversity targets.</jats:p>