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Study: Protecting forests has potential for "huge" carbon impact — but emissions cuts also needed

Intact forests play a vital role in tackling the climate crisis by absorbing and storing carbon. Still, there’s uncertainty around their true carbon-capturing potential, and previous efforts to quantify it have sparked controversy. A study published this week in Nature provides what its authors say is an updated estimate of the “huge” potential of forests.

The research, led by the Crowther Lab at ETH Zürich and co-authored by more than 200 scientists across the globe, estimated that protecting and restoring forests could capture 226 billion metric tons (GT) of carbon from the atmosphere. This equals around one-third of excess emissions since industrialization began.

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