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Seeing the Wood

A special report on forests

By The Economist
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Roughly half the dry weight of a tree is made up of stored carbon, most of which is released when the tree rots or is burned. But there is increasing evidence to suggest that primary, or old-growth, forests are seizing the opportunity of a carbon-heavy atmosphere to suck up more carbon than they did previously, a process known as
carbon fertilisation . By one estimate the Amazon rainforest is sequestering an additional 1.3 gigatonnes a year, roughly matching the recent annual emissions produced by clearing it.

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