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The uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by natural vegetation, soils, forests and agricultural land ('terrestrial biosphere') is an important part of the carbon cycle. Carbon uptake by vegetation can lessen the increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and in Europe can be increased by planting forests and other land management measures. But the additional potential storage capacity for the EU in forestry and agriculture is estimated to be relatively small, and climate change may cause more fires, pests and storm damage as well as increasing water stress, particularly in the Mediterranean area. These conditions would curtail plant growth and reduce the amount of carbon stored in the biosphere.
Source: EEA Report No 2/2004 "Impacts of Europe's changing climate" (published 18 Aug 2004)