Large rate of uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by planted forest biomass in Korea
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- Large rate of uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by planted forest biomass in Korea
- Choi, Sung-Deuk; Lee, K; Chang, YS
- Issue Date
- AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
- GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES, v.16, no.4, pp.1 - 5
- The Republic of Korea, henceforth referred to as Korea, has successfully implemented intensive programs of reforestation and forest management over the last 30 years to restore its once-rich forests. This nationwide effort has resulted in a massive accumulation of less than 30-year-old tree biomass, which now accounts for about 72% of the total forest biomass in Korea. Here we use a forest tree inventory data set for Korea to calculate the effectiveness of these planted trees in absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the period 1954 2000. The forest carbon density in Korea has increased from 5-7 megagrams of carbon per hectare (Mg C ha-1, Mg = 106 grams) in the period 1955-1973 to more than 30 Mg C ha-1 in the late 1990s. The calculated carbon uptake has increased from a mean rate of 0.001 petagrams of carbon per year (Pg C yr-1, Pg = 1015 grams) in the period 1955-1973 to as high as 0.012 Pg C yr-1 in recent years, largely due to the 30-year implementation of reforestation and forest management projects. The contemporary rate of carbon uptake by the total Korean tree biomass is approximately one-half of the 1994-1998 mean rate of carbon uptake by the total Chinese forest biomass of 0.026 Pg C yr-1 [Fang et al., 2001]; the Chinese forest biomass has recently been found to be a significant carbon sink in northern temperate regions. The observed uptake rate for Korea is remarkably high, considering the fact that the total area of Korean forests is approximately 16 times smaller than that of Chinese forests. Our results show that long-term rates of carbon sequestration by nationwide forests can be increased substantially through reforestation and forest management.
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