Mountain forests store 40 percent more carbon than expected

12 June 2014

It's not easy to measure carbon in mountain forest ecosystems. For one thing, climbing into these forests can be difficult, exhausting, and even treacherous. For another, many mountain rainforests are almost constantly blanketed by clouds—hence the term "cloud forest"—making it problematic to measure above-ground carbon storage from the air or satellite. But a new review study in Biogeosciences found that many estimates of carbon storage in montane tropical forests have been largely underestimated.

"Tropical mountain forests are under heavy human pressure and are experiencing rapid rates of deforestation and degradation. It is well known that tropical mountain forests are biodiversity hotspots as well as playing an important role in downstream water resources. Our study demonstrates that tropical mountain forests are also globally important stores of carbon, providing more justification to protect these forests," lead author Dominick Spracklen with the University of Leeds told mongabay.com.

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