OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Small headwater streams export surprising amounts of carbon out of Pacific Northwest forest

Scientists have tracked a higher-than-expected amount of carbon flowing out of a Pacific Northwest forest from month to month through a small headwater stream, suggesting that forested watersheds may not store quite as much carbon as previously thought.

In a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research—Biogeosciences, a team led by Alba Argerich, an assistant professor of research in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, reported that a small headwater stream in the Cascades exports, on average, about 6 percent of what forests absorb from the atmosphere and store.