Increased tree cover in savannas provides limited benefit in climate fight

One proposed strategy in the fight against climate change is to increase tree cover in the world’s savannas, either through the planting of new trees or fire suppression, to increase the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, a new study of African savannas suggests this approach is far less effective than previously estimated. “Increasing tree cover in savannas, whether via afforestation or fire suppression, is unlikely to yield the substantial gains in ecosystem carbon storage that have been advertised,” said Carla Staver, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, associate director of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, and senior author of the new study.

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