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Monday, August 4, 2008

Untouched forests store 3 times more carbon

SYDNEY, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Untouched natural forests store three times more carbon dioxide than previously estimated and 60 percent more than plantation forests, said a new Australian study of "green carbon" and its role in climate change.

Green carbon occurs in natural forests, brown carbon is found in industrialised forests or plantations, grey carbon in fossil fuels and blue carbon in oceans.

Australian National University (ANU) scientists said that the role of untouched forests, and their biomass of green carbon, had been underestimated in the fight against global warming.

The scientists said the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Kyoto Protocol did not distinguish between the carbon capacity of plantation forests and untouched forests.

Yet untouched forests can carry three times the carbon presently estimated, if their biomass of carbon stock was included, said the ANU report released on Tuesday.

Currently, forest carbon storage capacity is based on plantation forest estimates.

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