Why protecting forests means reduced emissions at global scale

By Northern Arizona University
Prescott eNews
July 6, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Scott Goetz

A recent study that uses 3D satellite imagery collected by technology on the International Space Station found that worldwide protected forests have an additional 9.65 billion metric tons of carbon stored in their aboveground biomass compared to ecologically similar unprotected areas—a finding that quantifies just how important protected areas are in our continued climate mitigation efforts. The study, published in Nature Communications by researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD), Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Conservation International and more, demonstrates the importance of protecting existing plant life, especially forests, in the global fight against climate change. “This research is vitally important for documenting the value of protected areas… for the climate benefits provided by forests, which sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and fix it into aboveground biomass,” said Scott Goetz, a professor at NAU and co-author of the study.

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