Reforesting US topsoils store massive amounts of carbon, with potential for much more

Read the full story at Science Daily.

Forests across the United States — and especially forest soils — store massive amounts of carbon, offsetting about 10 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and helping to mitigate climate change.

But for more than 20 years, experts have warned that the strength of this carbon “sink” is declining and will level off around mid-century. One way to compensate for the declining sink strength of U.S. forests is to add more trees — by actively replanting after disturbances like wildfires or by allowing forests to retake marginal croplands, for example.

A study scheduled for online publication the week of Feb. 26 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the first empirically based, published estimate of the total amount of carbon currently accumulating in the topsoil of U.S. forests undergoing these two types of reforestation.

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