New study confirms protected forests preserve equivalent to one year of global fossil fuel emissions through avoided emissions.

A study recently published in Nature Communications by researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD), Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Conservation International and more has found that worldwide protected forests have an additional 9.65 billion metric tons of carbon stored in their aboveground biomass compared to ecologically similar unprotected areas—a finding that quantifies just how important protected areas are in our continued climate mitigation efforts.

This study, which was jointly funded by the National Science Foundation (PI Brian Enquist, University of Arizona) and NASA (PI Laura Duncanson, UMD), used the highly accurate forest height, structure and surface elevation data produced by NASA's Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI, PI Ralph Dubayah, UMD). The team of researchers compared protected areas’ efficacy in avoiding emissions to the atmosphere with unprotected areas’ ability to do the same and tested the assumption that protected areas provide disproportionately more ecosystem services—including carbon storage and sequestration—than non-protected areas.

Read the full article about forest protection at Environmental News Network.