Nav: Home

Some forests have been hiding in plain sight

May 11, 2017

A new estimate of dryland forests suggests that the global forest cover is at least 9% higher than previously thought. The finding will help reduce uncertainties surrounding terrestrial carbon sink estimates. Dryland biomes, where precipitation is more than counterbalanced by evaporation from surfaces and transpiration by plants, cover about 40% of the Earth's land surface. These biomes contain some of the most threatened ecosystems, including biodiversity hotspots. However, previous estimates of dryland forests have been riddled with disparities, caused by issues such as differences in satellite spatial resolution, mapping approaches and forest definitions. These disparities have led to major doubts about the reliability of global forest area estimates, and to questions about the real contribution made by forests to the global carbon cycle. Here, Jean-Francois Bastin et al. analyzed satellite data from Google Earth, using a detail sample pool of 213,795 0.5 hectare plots from around the globe. Their new estimate of dryland forest is 40 to 47% higher than previous estimates, corresponding to 467 million hectares (Mha) of forest that have never been reported before. This increases current estimates of global forest cover by at least 9%. These results explain the difference between recent global estimates of forest "land use" area (3890 Mha) and the area with a "land cover," the authors say.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Global Carbon Cycle Articles:

Tiny shells indicate big changes to global carbon cycle
Experiments with tiny, shelled organisms in the ocean suggest big changes to the global carbon cycle are underway, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.
Polar glaciers may be home to previously undiscovered carbon cycle
Microbes in streams flowing on the surface of glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic may represent a previously underestimated source of organic material and be part of an as yet undiscovered 'dynamic local carbon cycle,' according to a new paper published by researchers supported by the National Science Foundation.
FSU scientist's findings on carbon cycle feed climate research
FSU Assistant Professor Michael Stukel explains how carbon is transported to deeper waters and why it is happening more rapidly in certain areas of the ocean.
Research shows driving factors behind changes between local and global carbon cycles
Pioneering new research has provided a fascinating new insight in the quest to determine whether temperature or water availability is the most influential factor in determining the success of global, land-based carbon sinks.
Losses of soil carbon under global warming might equal US emissions
A new global assessment led by Yale researchers finds that warming will drive the loss of at least 55 trillion kilograms of carbon from the soil by mid-century, or about 17% more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period.
Low growth in global carbon emissions continues for third successive year
Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project.
Scientists probe underground depths of Earth's carbon cycle
Understanding how carbon dissolves in water at the molecular level under extreme conditions is critical to understanding the Earth's deep carbon cycle -- a process that ultimately influences global climate change.
Investigating soil microbes' role in carbon cycle
Kristen DeAngelis at UMass Amherst recently received nearly $2.5 million from the US Department of Energy to advance understanding of the role of soil microbes in feeding carbon into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
Future increase in plant photosynthesis revealed by seasonal carbon dioxide cycle
Doubling of the carbon dioxide concentration will cause global plant photosynthesis to increase by about one-third, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.
Magma-limestone interaction can trigger explosive volcanic eruptions -- and affect the global carbon cycle
In a new study researchers from Sweden and Italy show what happens when magma meets limestone on its way up to the surface.

Related Global Carbon Cycle Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".