'Carbon Saturation' Close for Europe's Forests
Carbon sink at risk, study warns
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2013 3:33 AM CDT
Smoke rises from a forest fire in southern Norway.   (AP Photo / Tor E. Schroder, Scanpix Norway)

(Newser) – Yet more bad news for the climate: Europe's forests are approaching the peak of their ability to absorb carbon and may not be able to suck up the same level of emissions in future, according to a new study. Scientists say that while Europe is at its most forested in centuries thanks to massive post-WW2 planting programs, its trees are getting older and are now more at risk from wildfires and other natural disturbances, the BBC reports.

"These forests have now reached 70-80 years old and are starting a phase in the life of a tree where the growth rate starts to come down," the lead researcher explains. "So you have large areas of old forest and even if you add these relatively small areas of new forest, this does not compensate for the loss of growth rate in the old forests." The researchers warn that saturation point could be less than 20 years away unless better forest management is put in place across Europe, reports Reuters.

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Aug 25, 2013 4:47 PM CDT
maybe when fossil fuels will no longer combust due to lack of oxygen, we will quit using them. But dont hold your breath.
Aug 19, 2013 6:50 PM CDT
It would be better for all of Europe to go on carbon capture technologies. But it may also require an additional step because in the USA, most carbon capture goes to the soft drink and welding gas industry. So in the end, the carbon does make it into the atmosphere but very belatedly. So the gas needs to be converted into a solid form and then used where it does not easily return back to the air. You can process it with basalt to make calcium carbonate. You can also pump it deep into the ground in a type of injection well process. It will react with the rock and naturally turn to calcium carbonate. In the end, Europe solves their problem.
Aug 19, 2013 2:53 PM CDT
Then perhaps some planned harvesting is in order. Harvest those oldest trees and come right behind and plant. Start a new stand of young trees that can take up and use the CO2 at the fastest rate possible and grow as fast as they can to maturity. What you have there COULD be a sustainable resource for a VERY important building material.