Global maps of twenty-first century forest carbon fluxes

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Managing forests for climate change mitigation requires action by diverse stakeholders undertaking different activities with overlapping objectives and spatial impacts. To date, several forest carbon monitoring systems have been developed for different regions using various data, methods and assumptions, making it difficult to evaluate mitigation performance consistently across scales. Here, we integrate ground and Earth observation data to map annual forest-related greenhouse gas emissions and removals globally at a spatial resolution of 30 m over the years 2001–2019. We estimate that global forests were a net carbon sink of −7.6 ± 49 GtCO2e yr−1, reflecting a balance between gross carbon removals (−15.6 ± 49 GtCO2e yr−1) and gross emissions from deforestation and other disturbances (8.1 ± 2.5 GtCO2e yr−1). The geospatial monitoring framework introduced here supports climate policy development by promoting alignment and transparency in setting priorities and tracking collective progress towards forest-specific climate mitigation goals with both local detail and global consistency.

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