CSIRO has achieved a world first – mapping the potential for natural forest regrowth to capture carbon.

CSIRO scientists have joined with others from 17 other countries to publish a first of its kind, ‘wall-to-wall’ global, 1km resolution map that highlights areas with the greatest carbon returns, when they are allowed to reforest naturally.

Human induced natural regeneration of woody vegetation is one of the main carbon storage activities being carried out under Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund.

The findings highlight the role of natural forest regrowth and refines previous international estimates.

The study found that climate, rather than past land use, was the most important driver of potential carbon accumulation, with the work providing an important benchmark to assess the global potential of forest regrowth as a climate mitigation strategy, says co-author Dr Stephen Roxburgh, Principal Research Scientist at the CSIRO. 

It complements recent Australian work on carbon accumulation rates for planted and naturally regenerating stands of woody biomass across Australia.

The study is accessible here.