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Grasslands more reliable carbon sink than trees

Forests have long served as a critical carbon sink, consuming about a quarter of the carbon dioxide pollution produced by humans worldwide. But decades of fire suppression, warming temperatures and drought have increased wildfire risks -- turning California's forests from carbon sinks into carbon sources. A new study found that grasslands and rangelands are more resilient carbon sinks than forests in 21st century California. As such, the study indicates they should be given opportunities in the state's cap-and-and trade market, which is designed to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The findings could inform similar carbon offset efforts around the globe, particularly those in semiarid environments, which cover about 40 percent of the planet.

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