The world's forests are increasingly taking up more carbon, partially offsetting the carbon being released by the burning of fossil fuels and by deforestation in the tropics, according to a new study. The findings suggest that forests are growing more vigorously and, therefore, locking away more carbon. Even so, the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is still on the rise. The increased plant growth in global forests could be due to several factors, including higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, warmer temperatures and increased availability of nitrogen. The new study also contributes to a mounting body of evidence that tropical forests might take up more carbon -- and northern temperate forests might take up less carbon -- than many scientists once thought.
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