Atmospheric science: Trading water for carbon with biological carbon sequestration

Robert B. Jackson, Esteban G. Jobbágy, Roni Avissar, Somnath Baidya Roy, Damian J. Barrett, Charles W. Cook, Kathleen A. Farley, David C. Le Maitre, Bruce A. McCarl, Brian C. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon sequestration strategies highlight tree plantations without considering their full environmental consequences. We combined field research, synthesis of more than 600 observations, and climate and economic modeling to document substantial losses in stream flow, and increased soil salinization and acidification, with afforestation. Plantations decreased stream flow by 227 millimeters per year globally (52%), with 13% of streams drying completely for at least 1 year. Regional modeling of U.S. plantation scenarios suggests that climate feedbacks are unlikely to offset such water losses and could exacerbate them. Plantations can help control groundwater recharge and upwelling but reduce stream flow and salinize and acidify some soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1944-1947
Number of pages4
Issue number5756
StatePublished - Dec 23 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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