European forests have been carbon sinks for years -- absorbing CO2 and providing a defense against global warming.
But a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change warns that these forests, which absorb about 10% of Europe's emissions, are near their carbon saturation point, meaning they will no longer be able to absorb carbon at the same rate.
The amount of carbon stored by these forests began to slow down in 2005, according to the report.
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Deforestation, fires, insect attacks and a declining volume of trees have led to a decline in the forests' abilities to sink carbon, the researchers found.
The forests' carbon absorbing abilities had been projected to continue for decades, but the study indicates that their carbon saturation point could be reached by as soon as 2030.
"Forest policies and management strategies need revision if we want to sustain the sink,” the report stated.