Storing carbon in forests and soils: the Italian case of greenhouse gas emissions

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Agroforest and natural ecosystems provide food, fibers, fuel and other products and services. Not only do they store and make up a key pool of organic carbon, but they are also essential for genetic diversity and biodiversity, human well-being and mitigation to climate change.
There’s a growing interest in the role of the carbon cycle of terrestrial ecosystems and its relevance for national policies on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. According to the last official National Inventory of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), targeted to report annual emissions and removals under the commitments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, the Italian territory is represented by forests (about 30%), croplands (30%), grasslands (30%) and a remaining 10% of settlements, wetlands and otherwise classified lands. Improving and enhancing carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems will be crucial to cut global carbon emissions while addressing the challenges posed by climate change. “The State Forestry Corps (Corpo Forestale dello Stato) is carrying out the third National Forestry Inventory that will report the C absorption capacity of the Italian forests, while our book provides a dataset for croplands and grasslands”, says Maria Vincenza Chiriacò, CMCC researcher and one of the authors of the book The Greenhouse Gas Balance of Italy. “We need more studies like this providing datasets and information to understand the C sequestration capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and their potential uses in mitigation programs for climate change.”

Read the full interview conducted by Laura Caciagli on Climate Science & Policy, the free digital magazine edited by CMCC.

* Picture: Vincent van Gogh – Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun (detail) – The Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Wikimedia Commoncs

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