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Nichol Turks Head cactus in decay

Carbon Sequestration and Sonoran Desert Cacti

Cacti transform significant amounts of the carbon in CO2 into the mineral calcium carbonate when they die rather than returning it to the atmosphere as a gas product of decay in the short term.   Because cacti transfer carbon from the earths biological cycle to its geological cycle through the formation of a mineral, this form of sequestration Is a natural long-term terrestrial equivalent to oceanic sequestration of carbon by corals and shellfish.    As a result, presently, only desert plants and ocean animals are known to be naturally capable of sequestering carbon for millions of years.    And, because of these characteristics cactus employment for the purpose of carbon sequestration necessarily leads to its allowance for carbon credits.

Online resources listed following the images.

Invited post by William D. Peachy.


cactus images showing calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate associated with saguaro and Nichol Turk's Head cactus


Online Resources

Valdez, L., 2018,  Can the saguaro cactus really fight global warming? You bet. Here’s how. Arizona Republic, 3 Aug. 2018.    

Garvie, L.A.J., 2006, Decay of cacti and carbon cycling. Die Naturwissenschaften, v. 93, p. 114-118.