Understanding Carbon Storage in Forests

Mary Martin, Research Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire, mary.martin@unh.edu
Scott Ollinger, Associate Professor, University of New Hampshire, scott.ollinger@unh.edu

Rita Freuder, Information Technologist, University of New Hampshire, rita.freuder@gmail.com

Sarah Silverberg, Project Coordinator, GLOBE Carbon Cycle, University of New Hampshire, sarah.silverberg@unh.edu

Linda Selvig, Earth Science teacher, Centennial High School, Boise ID

LuAnn Dahlman, Debbie Munsen, & Carla McAuliffe, Curriculum Developers, TERC

Published: March 2009. Last Updated: September 2011.


Photo credit: Vermont Division of Forestry.

Increased levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are contributing to warmer temperatures on Earth. Because forests draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, they are important components of the global carbon cycle. How do forests play a role in carbon uptake and storage? Would planting more trees help offset carbon dioxide emissions?

In this chapter, you'll learn about forest biomass and its role in carbon storage. You'll compare field-collected data with results produced by a forest biomass model to understand the process and challenges scientists face when doing terrestrial carbon cycle research.

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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