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Old Forests Store Carbon

Information from the world's longest continuous eddy-flux tower measurements at the Harvard Forest reveal that old forests can store carbon at rates higher than previously believed. This understanding represents a major paradigm shift and suggests that allowing forests to mature can be an important strategy for mitigating climate change.

Barford, C. C., S. C. Wofsy, M. L. Goulden, J. W. Munger, E. H. Pyle, S. P. Urbanski, L. Hutyra, S. R. Saleska, D. Fitzjarrald, and K. Moore (2001), Factors controlling long- and short-term sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in a mid-latitude forest, Science, 294 (5547), 1688-1691.
Urbanski, S., C. Barford, S. Wofsy, C. Kucharik, E. Pyle, J. Budney, K. McKain, D. Fitzjarrald, M. Czikowsky, and J. W. Munger (2007), Factors controlling CO2 exchange on timescales from hourly to decadal at Harvard Forest, Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 112 (G2), doi: G02020 Artn g02020.
Dr. J. William Munger
The flux tower rising above the forest canopy at the Harvard Forest LTER has been observing increasing CO2 uptake by the forest for nearly 2 decades. These typical New England forests with mixture of deciduous and coniferous species are important for keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere
John Budney
Annual sums of Net carbon exchange (NEE) since 1992 at the Harvard Forest LTER show an increasing trend. The measured NEE is partitioned into ecosystem respiration (R) and gross ecosystem exchange (GEE = photosynthesis) based on temperature and light dependence of NEE.
Adapted and updated from Urbanski et al. 2007.



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