A recent study published in Nature on March 15, 2023, indicates that just a quarter of the emissions from the deforestation and degradation of humid tropical forests are currently recouped through regrowth. Thus, it’s crucial to prioritize the protection of mature forests. Nevertheless, the study highlights the significant carbon uptake of regenerating degraded forests and secondary forests on formerly deforested areas, which currently represent 10% of the total forest area. The carbon absorption capacity of these areas is considerable and should be fully exploited.
This carbon sink is roughly equivalent to offsetting half of South America’s annual fossil fuel emissions. The research, using satellite data from the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative, focused on Kalimantan, the Amazon, and Central Africa. The findings showed that, per hectare, Kalimantan had the highest carbon uptake compared to the Amazon and Central Africa.
Moreover, the research team discovered that degraded forests in Borneo accumulated carbon at a rate approximately 50% faster than in the Amazon and Central Africa, likely due to its favorable climate and environment.