Calif. Scientists Trim Forest, Create 'Carbon Bank'

Researchers look for the most efficient way to store emissions
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2009 5:30 PM CST
Calif. Scientists Trim Forest, Create 'Carbon Bank'
David Milarch, co-founder of the Champion Tree Project, stands by a 1,000-year-old Redwood tree that he planned to take samples from at Roy's Redwoods Open Space Preserve in San Geronimo, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Researchers in California are perfecting the science of carbon dioxide "banking"—tweaking a forest to store the maximum amount of the gas. In Big River forest, scientists have cleared some undergrowth, leaving the state's iconic redwoods to grow bigger thanks to lack of competition. The idea is that the bigger redwoods will make the "weeded" forest a maximally efficient carbon storage house.

The precise carbon accounting needed to evaluate the project will prove useful in a carbon marketplace like that set to be proposed at next month's climate conference in Copenhagen, where countries could be paid carbon offsets for not chopping down their forests. The trees are excellent storage units: "Carbon is roughly 50 percent of the mass of most trees," a forester with the project tells NPR.
(Read more carbon stories.)

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