Professor Brendan Mackey of Griffith University Climate-Change'>Climate Change Response Program is the lead author of an international study involving researchers from Australia and the U.K. Their findings are reported in "Untangling the confusion around land carbon science and Climate-Change'>climate change mitigation policy," published in the scientific journal Nature Climate-Change'>Climate Change.
The findings highlight the urgent need for policy-makers worldwide to re-think the issue as many decision-makers, national and internationally, assume that fossil fuel emissions can be offset through sequestering carbon by planting trees and other land management practices.
The study found that protecting natural forests avoids emissions that would otherwise result from logging and land clearing while also conserving biodiversity. Restoring degraded ecosystems or planting new forests helps store some of the carbon dioxide that was emitted from past land use activities.
"These land management actions should be rewarded as they are an important part of the solution," Professor Mackay said.
"However, no amount of reafforestation or growing of new trees will ultimately off-set continuing CO2 emissions due to environmental constraints on plant growth and the large amounts of remaining fossil fuel reserves.
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