CO2 sequestration and Trees

mhagen at mhagen at
Sat Feb 15 14:20:03 EST 1997

Al Stangenberger wrote:
> Paolo Mori (sherwood at wrote:
> : Dear newsgroup readers
> : I am trying to find updated information about the role of trees (and in
> : particular: fast-growing tree plantations) in reducing atmospheric CO2
> : concentration.
> : I really believe that fast growing species can sequester much more CO2 then
> : other species; experimental finding demostrates that the Net Primary
> : Production of a tree plantation is growing when the trees are young until the
> : respiration becom too high; can you please give me your opinion about this?
> Probably the best way to use vegetation to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration
> is to burn it as an energy source and thereby reduce the use of fossil fuels.
> It is true that vegetation does sequester carbon in the short term, but keeping
> that newly-sequestered carbon in storage for geologic time periods is no easy
> task.  It's lots easier to use the vegetation for energy and leave the fossil
> fuels in the ground.
> --
> Al Stangenberger                      forags at
> Dept. of Env. Sci., Policy, & Mgt.    145 Mulford Hall # 3114
> Univ. of California at Berkeley       Berkeley, CA  94720-3114
> (510) 642-4424  FAX: (510) 643-5438

Hello list,
	Some time back I took a series of courses which were taught by marine
scientists from the Battelle Northwest Lab. Now I may be misremembering,
but the greatest amount of CO2 sequestration was thought to occur in the
top few millimeters of the sea surface. 
	The "microlayer" is where light, O2, CO2, plankton, diatoms, etc all
interact to the greatest degree. Carbonates form, which then fall to the
sea floor after the death of the organisms. There they may remain until
geologic process return them to the surface, when they renter the
atmospheric portion of the carbon cycle. 
	I oversimplify, but the point was the need to control marine pollution,
which adversely effects exchange at the microlayer. There are other
aspects. Is the system self regulating? Does surface temp drive the rate
of CO2 storage? El Nino, and Nina? How about wave action and mixing? 
	I have a vested interst in planting trees, but I think that while CO2
sequestration by forests is important, it's small potatos compared to
what occurs in the marine environment. I would be really interested in
statistics which compare the roles of forest, marine and other carbon
sinks to each other.
Mike Hagen

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