The study, led by NASA, estimates that of the global absorption of 2.4 billion metric tons of CO2, tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons annually. This is more than the boreal forests in Canada, Siberia and other northern regions absorb.
According to the press release, this is good news as the consumption of boreal forests is declining, while tropical forests will be able to absorb carbon for several more years.
The forested areas of the planet have been of great help in slowing the effects of increased human production of carbon dioxide, through a process called retention. Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, storing some of it in their trunks and leaves and transferring some of it to the soil through their roots.
Forests and other vegetation are responsible for approximately 30% of human carbon emotions. But if the absorption rate were to decrease, the rise in global temperature would accelerate as a consequence.
The results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.