Diverse scientific studies suggest that there is some potential in native forests and plantation forests for mitigating atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions in an equivalent amount of 11 to 15 % of the fossil fuels emissions during the same time (G. M. Woodwell, 1978). To achieve those mitigation goals in a sustainable way countries should implement suitable management practices for conserving forest lands, and both enhancing and keeping the carbon sequestration power of global forests. Three obvious options for the latter are stopping deforestation, expanding the forest area, and increasing the carbon stock in existing forests (S. Brown et al., 1996).
In the present paper I present the results of applying twenty six forest models to explore diverse alternatives for mitigating atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions in Argentina. Sets of models for reforesting or afforesting degraded lands, implementing sustainable management practices on existing forest lands, or slowing native deforestation were built based on the characteristics of each one of six ecoregions the country had been divided; i.e.
the Selva Misionera, Pradera Pampeana, Delta bonaerense y entrerriano, Patagonia Andina, Selva Tucumano-Boliviana, and Parque Chaqueño (Inventarios Nacionales de Bosques Nativos 2002 y Plantaciones Forestales 2001; K. Huek 1957 – 1966; and P. Seibert 1988).
The models of afforestation and implementation of sustainable management practices were applied to degraded lands in the regions Selva Misionera, Delta bonarense y entrerriano, Pradera Pampeana, and Patagonia.
I have found that the CO2-capture capacity estimated for those regions was 193,321tonnes/(ha.year). The Parque Chaqueño was found to be a source of CO2 in the amount of 35,301,730 tonnes CO2/year (I. Gasparri y E. Mangghi, 2004). The sink capacity of the Selva Tucumano-Boliviana is being steadily decreased due to deforestation: the actual balance is estimated to be 43,128,840 tonnes CO2/year, or 30 % less than 15 years
ago. The total CO2 capture capacity summed over the 26 models was 533,626 tonnes CO2 per hectare.