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Carbon sequestration via wood burial.

Zeng N - Carbon Balance Manag (2008)

Bottom Line: Because a large flux of CO2 is constantly being assimilated into the world's forests via photosynthesis, cutting off its return pathway to the atmosphere forms an effective carbon sink.It is estimated that a sustainable long-term carbon sequestration potential for wood burial is 10 +/- 5 GtC y-1, and currently about 65 GtC is on the world's forest floors in the form of coarse woody debris suitable for burial.Burying wood has other benefits including minimizing CO2 source from deforestation, extending the lifetime of reforestation carbon sink, and reducing fire danger.The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, USA. zeng@atmos.umd.edu.

ABSTRACT
To mitigate global climate change, a portfolio of strategies will be needed to keep the atmospheric CO2 concentration below a dangerous level. Here a carbon sequestration strategy is proposed in which certain dead or live trees are harvested via collection or selective cutting, then buried in trenches or stowed away in above-ground shelters. The largely anaerobic condition under a sufficiently thick layer of soil will prevent the decomposition of the buried wood. Because a large flux of CO2 is constantly being assimilated into the world's forests via photosynthesis, cutting off its return pathway to the atmosphere forms an effective carbon sink.It is estimated that a sustainable long-term carbon sequestration potential for wood burial is 10 +/- 5 GtC y-1, and currently about 65 GtC is on the world's forest floors in the form of coarse woody debris suitable for burial. The potential is largest in tropical forests (4.2 GtC y-1), followed by temperate (3.7 GtC y-1) and boreal forests (2.1 GtC y-1). Burying wood has other benefits including minimizing CO2 source from deforestation, extending the lifetime of reforestation carbon sink, and reducing fire danger. There are possible environmental impacts such as nutrient lock-up which nevertheless appears manageable, but other concerns and factors will likely set a limit so that only part of the full potential can be realized.Based on data from North American logging industry, the cost for wood burial is estimated to be $14/tCO2($50/tC), lower than the typical cost for power plant CO2 capture with geological storage. The cost for carbon sequestration with wood burial is low because CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by the natural process of photosynthesis at little cost. The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market.

No MeSH data available.


Dead trees on forest floor in a natural North American deciduous forest, Belwood, Maryland.
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Figure 1: Dead trees on forest floor in a natural North American deciduous forest, Belwood, Maryland.

Mentions: The possibility of carbon sequestration via wood burial stems from the observation that natural forest is typically littered with dead trees (Fig. 1). It is hypothesized that large quantities of organic carbon were buried and preserved for over one hundred thousand years under the great Northern Hemisphere icesheets during the Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles [15,16]. Other studies have shown that organic matter, especially wood, in municipal landfills decomposes extremely slowly [17]. With these, it became clear that wood harvesting and burial could be a viable method for carbon sequestration.


Carbon sequestration via wood burial.

Zeng N - Carbon Balance Manag (2008)

Dead trees on forest floor in a natural North American deciduous forest, Belwood, Maryland.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2266747&req=5

Figure 1: Dead trees on forest floor in a natural North American deciduous forest, Belwood, Maryland.
Mentions: The possibility of carbon sequestration via wood burial stems from the observation that natural forest is typically littered with dead trees (Fig. 1). It is hypothesized that large quantities of organic carbon were buried and preserved for over one hundred thousand years under the great Northern Hemisphere icesheets during the Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles [15,16]. Other studies have shown that organic matter, especially wood, in municipal landfills decomposes extremely slowly [17]. With these, it became clear that wood harvesting and burial could be a viable method for carbon sequestration.

Bottom Line: Because a large flux of CO2 is constantly being assimilated into the world's forests via photosynthesis, cutting off its return pathway to the atmosphere forms an effective carbon sink.It is estimated that a sustainable long-term carbon sequestration potential for wood burial is 10 +/- 5 GtC y-1, and currently about 65 GtC is on the world's forest floors in the form of coarse woody debris suitable for burial.Burying wood has other benefits including minimizing CO2 source from deforestation, extending the lifetime of reforestation carbon sink, and reducing fire danger.The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, USA. zeng@atmos.umd.edu.

ABSTRACT
To mitigate global climate change, a portfolio of strategies will be needed to keep the atmospheric CO2 concentration below a dangerous level. Here a carbon sequestration strategy is proposed in which certain dead or live trees are harvested via collection or selective cutting, then buried in trenches or stowed away in above-ground shelters. The largely anaerobic condition under a sufficiently thick layer of soil will prevent the decomposition of the buried wood. Because a large flux of CO2 is constantly being assimilated into the world's forests via photosynthesis, cutting off its return pathway to the atmosphere forms an effective carbon sink.It is estimated that a sustainable long-term carbon sequestration potential for wood burial is 10 +/- 5 GtC y-1, and currently about 65 GtC is on the world's forest floors in the form of coarse woody debris suitable for burial. The potential is largest in tropical forests (4.2 GtC y-1), followed by temperate (3.7 GtC y-1) and boreal forests (2.1 GtC y-1). Burying wood has other benefits including minimizing CO2 source from deforestation, extending the lifetime of reforestation carbon sink, and reducing fire danger. There are possible environmental impacts such as nutrient lock-up which nevertheless appears manageable, but other concerns and factors will likely set a limit so that only part of the full potential can be realized.Based on data from North American logging industry, the cost for wood burial is estimated to be $14/tCO2($50/tC), lower than the typical cost for power plant CO2 capture with geological storage. The cost for carbon sequestration with wood burial is low because CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by the natural process of photosynthesis at little cost. The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market.

No MeSH data available.