Just 1 percent of Amazon’s trees hold half of its carbon | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

Science Stats

Just 1 percent of Amazon’s trees hold half of its carbon

Big, abundant species outweigh their neighbors when it comes to keeping greenhouse gases out of the air

11:00am, April 28, 2015
Amazon rainforest

THE 1 PERCENT  The trees of the Amazon rainforest hold a lot of carbon, but around half of the rainforest’s carbon storage is wrapped up in just 1 percent of its tree species.

The Amazon rainforest holds more carbon than any other ecosystem, but only a handful of tree species do most of the work of keeping carbon out of the air. Surveying 530 areas throughout the rainforest, researchers found that roughly 1 percent of Amazonian tree species handle half of the forest’s carbon storage.

The Amazon holds about 17 percent of the carbon contained in land plants worldwide. While the forest hosts an estimated 16,000 tree species, the research team identified roughly 150 large, abundant species that remove the most carbon from the air.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content