All living organisms are carbon based. In atmosphere, carbon occurs in form of carbon dioxide (CO2) that helps keeping climate viable and is a core ingredient in photosynthesis. Carbon cycles in ecosystem from atmosphere to organisms through photosynthesis and again from releases back to atmosphere through degrading organisms. Share of it stays in soil as well.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that affects to the average temperature of Earth’s climate system when the amount of CO2 in atmosphere is high. The main reasons for risen CO2 levels in atmosphere are anthropogenic. Carbon is stored in organic material and released to atmosphere for example by burning coal. Fossil fuels contain high amount of carbon and using them results in increased CO2 levels in atmosphere.
Carbon sequestration is a process where carbon is stored in organic material, mainly in plants or plankton. Particularly tropical forests are effective at storing carbon but in Finnish boreal forests. Boreal soils are better carbon sinks than the coniferous forests that have lower photosynthesis levels than in tropical trees. Plants also release carbon to atmosphere through respiration. When natural element sequesters more carbon than releases they are called as carbon sinks that are globally beneficial for climate. In Finland, significant carbon storages are growing forests, soils, water sediments and peat in mires.
- Updated (05.02.2015)