Australia's forests key to fighting global warming

Reuters, 16 June 2009 - Ancient Australian forests are key to fighting climate change and contain the world's most dense carbon store, eclipsing tropical rainforests as efficient greenhouse gas absorbers, scientists said on Tuesday.

Towering Mountain Ash forests covering Victoria state's cool highlands hold four times more carbon, or around 1,900 tonnes of carbon per hectare, than tropical forests, scientists at the Australian National University said.

"The trees in these forests can grow to a very old age, at least 350 years, and they can grow very large, very tall, and they grow very dense, heavy wood," said Brendan Mackey, a professor of environment science.

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The researchers studied biomass data from 132 forests around the world to discover regions storing the most carbon, with results published in the U.S.-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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