Author: David Reese | Published: July 9, 2018
With five of California’s most destructive wildfire seasons happening since 2006, that state should include grasslands and not just forests as promising carbon sinks, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis.
The environmental scientists found that California grasslands are better at storing carbon from the atmosphere than fire-prone trees and forests, which have transitioned from carbon sinks (reserves) to carbon generators.
Forests have been a major way to store atmospheric carbon, but when they burn they become carbon generators, and years of wildfire suppression and drought have increased wildfire risks.
Grasslands have the capacity to be more drought- and fire-resilient than forests, and should be considered in California’s carbon cap-and-trade market, which was established in 2012, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.