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Keywords:

  • carbon cycle;
  • sequestration;
  • ecosystem capacity;
  • land management

Western U.S. ecosystems have the capacity to sequester about 91 million metric tons of carbon per year, according to a report released 5 December by the Department of the Interior. Entitled “Baseline and Projected Future Carbon Storage and Greenhouse-Gas Fluxes in Ecosystems of the Western United States” and written by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, the report came out of a congressionally mandated study. It examines how much carbon can be stored naturally through biological activity in various ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands, in the western United States, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific.