Rainforest carbon recovers faster than biodiversity

NERC Science of the Environment

15 November 2013

When tropical forests are cleared, they can take a century or more to re-absorb the carbon they once held, according to a new study. But their biodiversity is even slower to recover, and some species may never return.

Forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, but when they are cleared this returns to the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. More than half the world's tropical rainforest has now been cleared for agriculture, logged or burned, so it's important to know how long it takes for so-called 'secondary forests' to absorb a similar amount of carbon again once they are allowed to grow back. Read more