Growing forests are called sinks because they absorb carbon dioxide. Trees convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into carbon stored in wood and the surrounding soil. Deforestation alters the carbon cycle by releasing this carbon back into the air. Recognising this, the Kyoto Protocol allows some emissions (sometimes referred to as sink credits) to be generated when new (post-1990) forests are established. The New Zealand government expects that forests planted after 1990 will absorb around 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2008 and 2012.
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