Ground-based studies, satellite data mesh to provide more accurate forest biomass data
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With global warming and beetle-killed forests near the top of many environmental agendas, the role of forests as carbon sinks, where heat-trapping greenhouse gases are stored, has become increasingly important.
U.S. forests absorb about 750 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and the U.S. Forest Service says managing forest resources to optimize carbon storage is essential in mitigating the effects of climate change. But millions of acres of trees have been killed by beetles, with millions more expected to die in the next few years. Those forest areas no longer absorb and store carbon dioxide — they actually become net producers of greenhouse gases as the wood decays.