Tropical Forests’ Capacity To Absorb CO2 Is Declining

The tropical forests of the Congo Basin and the Amazon, which concentrate 50% of the world’s carbon sequestration capacity, could soon become sources of air pollution. The results of a groundbreaking survey, carried out by researchers at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium and the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, show that the capacity of tropical forests to capture CO2 from the atmosphere is in sharp decline.

For 50 years, the international team of researchers (Great Britain, Belgium, France, Cameroon, Congo, Ghana…) has studied the growth and mortality of 300,000 trees, spread over 565 intact tropical forests in Africa and the Amazon. During its observation, the team found that the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere favours rapid tree growth. However, this phenomenon, which seems beneficial for the forest, is cancelled out each year by the destruction of trees through fires, deforestation, droughts and temperature peaks.

Extrapolating these data over the next 20 years, the study published on March 4, 2020 in the scientific journal Nature estimates that the capacity of African forests to absorb carbon will decline by 14% by 2030, and that that of the Amazon will drop to zero by 2035. Read more…


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