Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change. Some excerpts:
In the battle to limit the risks of climate change, it has been clear for decades that focusing on the world’s immense tropical forests — saving the ones that are left, and perhaps letting new ones grow — is the single most promising near-term strategy.
That is because of the large role that forests play in what is called the carbon cycle of the planet. Trees pull the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, out of the air and lock the carbon away in their wood and in the soil beneath them. Destroying them, typically by burning, pumps much of the carbon back into the air, contributing to climate change.
While the article focuses on the developing world, the same holds true for the developed world. In addition, plants such as cottonwood trees and mulberry bushes can actually take carbon out of the atmosphere for much longer periods through phytomineralization, i.e., converting the CO2 into sparingly soluble carbonate minerals.