Greenhouse Gases Rise From Forests Damaged by Katrina

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Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

Losses inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on Gulf Coast forest trees are great enough to cancel out a year's worth of new tree growth in other parts of the country, according to a new study led by biologist Jeffrey Chambers of Tulane University.

'The carbon that will be released as these trees decompose is enough to cancel out an entire year's worth of net gain by all U.S. forests. And this is only from a single storm,' says Chambers, lead author of an article detailing the team's findings, 'Hurricane Katrina's Carbon Footprint on Gulf Coast Forests,' published in the November 16 issue of the journal Science.

The study was carried out by researchers at Tulane and the University of New Hampshire using NASA satellite sensing technology and data, ecological field investigations and statistical analysis.

The investigators estimate that 320 million large trees were killed or severely damaged by the intense hurricane that made landfall on August 29, 2005.

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