Development & Aid, Environment, Tierramerica - Ecobrief

Ecobreves – BRAZIL: Forests Near Sugar Cane Fields Boost Carbon Capture

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 29 2011 (IPS) - Preserving forests located in the midst of sugar cane plantations helps reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by these monoculture plantations, according to a team of researchers at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. The forests sequester the surplus carbon that the sugar cane crops are not able to absorb, said botanist Marcos Buckeridge, one of the researchers.

"Forests absorb 17 times more carbon than sugar cane crops, so their presence in the midst of cane fields can help compensate for the emissions produced through burning the sugar cane (a common practice before harvesting) and transportation," Buckeridge told Tierramérica.

Studies to confirm this hypothesis, which are being conducted with the support of the National Space Research Institute, will conclude in two months. "We also want to gather data to determine the area of forest needed to compensate for all of the emissions in the state of São Paulo," where Brazil’s sugar cane plantations are concentrated, he added.

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