Park Williams says we must understand how severe fire impacts on the carbon balance of forests

Publication: Associated Press

UCLA Expert: Park Williams: Associate Professor and Climate Hydrologist, Department of Geography

Synopsis: In addition to the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere from boreal forest fires themselves, the loss of trees and soil from more frequent and intense wildfires could mean Earth is losing a major source of carbon storage. The danger, scientists say, is that boreal forests could tip further toward emitting more carbon than they absorb.

UCLA News: “One very important but complicated piece of the puzzle .... is what happens to the carbon balance of boreal landscapes after large and severe fires,” Williams said. One question with global warming, he said, is whether a longer growing season would stimulate new growth in boreal forests and pull carbon out of the atmosphere or whether warming and burning would create new sources of emissions, such as permafrost thawing.


Read more at Associated Press.