Could controlled forest burning  help us capture more carbon?
Environment Climate Change carbon sequestration

Could controlled forest burning help us capture more carbon?

Prof Dr Ilan Kelman
Prof Dr Ilan Kelman

In 10 seconds? A new review paper changes our views of the impacts of vegetation fires on climate change. Its main finding: greenhouse gases released through controlled burning can potentially be offset by revitalizing the topsoil, enabling it to ‘lock in’ more carbon than before.

I thought we had to avoid forest fires. What's the use of 'controlled burning'? Controlled burning is done to keep forests healthy and to protect them from bigger, devastating fires. During carefully planned controlled burns dead trees, dead grass, undergrowth, and fallen branches get removed. During the process, the soil gets revitalized because nutrients from the rotting vegetation are returned to the soil faster. Indigenous people have used controlled burns in the Americas and elsewhere for centuries.

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