Young trees are better at absorbing carbon dioxide than established tropical rainforests.
Older trees have long been thought to be more efficient carbon ‘sinks’, but new research has found this not to be the case.
Trees less than 140-years-old are responsible for purging Earth of more than half of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham found these juvenile forests occur in ‘regrown’ regions on former agricultural or logging land, after forest fires and at high latitudes.
Study author Dr Tom Pugh, of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), said a young forest could absorb up to 25 per cent more carbon than an older one.
The research highlights how much carbon dioxide can be absorbed by growing forests in the future.
Dr Pugh said the age of the trees was important to take into account when calculating how much carbon a forest will absorb after reforestation schemes.