Global Carbon Cycles
We now know that forests play
an important role in moderating the amount of atmospheric
carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas that increases
the amount of radiation absorbed by the atmosphere.
Changes in the amount of greenhouse
gases may alter the earth's climate. The way the forests
are managed affects how significant they are as a
'carbon sink,' where carbon is captured by a forest's
persistent, woody biomass.
Many scientists believe that the
world's climate is changing because of human activity.
The burning of fossil fuels (coal and petroleum products)
has increased the level of carbon dioxide and other
gases in the atmosphere. This causes the so-called
"greenhouse effect" which many scientists
believe may be warming the planet's surface and changing
help slow down the process of climate change, by absorbing
carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis.
One scientist has estimated that Oregon's forests take
more than 15 million metric tons of carbon out of the
atmosphere each year.