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Researchers create global map of tree height

Mapping changes over time could help track forest carbon content

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1:58pm, July 26, 2010

Scientists have created the first global map of forest height using satellite data. The map will improve estimates of how much carbon is stored in Earth’s trees and how much carbon dioxide they absorb from fossil fuel burning annually.

Trees store carbon through photosynthesis by converting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into biomass. This process helps absorb some of the 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide that people release into the atmosphere every year. But it’s not clear exactly how much carbon goes into trees, and it’s difficult to predict how much they will soak up in the future.

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