The primary new revenue source from forest ecosystem services is the sequestration and storage of carbon.
As forests grow, trees take up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. This carbon is subsequently stored in the forest ecosystem as live biomass (foliage, branches, stems, and roots), dead organic matter (e.g. litter, logs, and snags), and soil organic matter.
Forest management and/or conservation that increases the amount of carbon stored in a forest ecosystem over and above standard management practices is eligible for sale as carbon offsets.
• Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere via photosynthesis
• Carbon is stored as biomass in above & below-ground components
• C is transfered to litter & deadwood pools through mortality and litterfall
• Stable Soil organic matter formed
• Decomposition of dead organic matter releases CO2 back to the atmosphere
** Learn more about carbon markets
• The total carbon contained within an ecosystem at a given time is referred to as storage.
• The rate at which storage in an ecosystem changes over time is referred to as sequestration.
The graphs on the left illustrate forest carbon dynamics following the clearcut harvest of a hypothetical forest stand.
** Learn more about opportunities for forest carbon projects
Ecosystem Services: Carbon Offsets
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