Amazon rainforest survey could improve carbon offset schemes

23 April 2014

Carbon offsetting initiatives could be improved with new insights into the make-up of tropical forests, a study by researchers at British universities has shown.

Scientists studying the Amazon Basin have revealed unprecedented detail of the size, age and species of trees across the region by comparing satellite maps with hundreds of field plots, said a statement from the University of Edinburgh.

The findings will enable researchers to assess more accurately the amount of carbon each tree can store, a key factor in carbon offset schemes, in which trees are given a cash value according to their carbon content, and credits can be traded in exchange for preserving trees.

Existing satellite maps of the area have estimated trees' carbon content based largely on their height, but have not accounted for large regional variations in their shape and density.

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