Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 28 Feb 2018
LE Nave, GM Domke, KL Hofmeister, U Mishra, CH Perry, BF Walters and CW Swanston
Soils are Earth’s largest terrestrial carbon © pool, and their responsiveness to land use and management make them appealing targets for strategies to enhance C sequestration. Numerous studies have identified practices that increase soil C, but their inferences are often based on limited data extrapolated over large areas. Here, we combine 15,000 observations from two national-level databases with remote sensing information to address the impacts of reforestation on the sequestration of C in topsoils (uppermost mineral soil horizons). We quantify C stocks in cultivated, reforesting, and natural forest topsoils; rates of C accumulation in reforesting topsoils; and their contribution to the US forest C sink. Our results indicate that reforestation increases topsoil C storage, and that reforesting lands, currently occupying >500,000 km2in the United States, will sequester a cumulative 1.3-2.1 Pg C within a century (13-21 Tg C·y-1). Annually, these C gains constitute 10% of the US forest sector C sink and offset 1% of all US greenhouse gas emissions.
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