Concerns over the potential eوٴects of increased atmospheric CO2 have spurred research on topics as dLوٴerent in scale and process as plant leaf/litter quality and litter decomposition, global climatology and forest carbon storage. Atmospheric CO2 concentration increased by about 9% between 1971 and 1990 and will probably have doubled by the end of the 21st century, mainly due to man-made emissions. НLs increase results in global climatic warming considered by the Rio summit in 1992 to be dangerous. Нe capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to act as carbon sinks could partly compensate for the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Forest ecosystems only cover 30% of the land areas, but contain 81% of the terrestrial carbon biomass. In addition, forests accumulate 20 to 100 times as much carbon per unit area as agricultural land and are 20 times more productive than grassland. Нe need for an accurate inventory of carbon stocks and the capacity of forest to accumulate carbon was emphasized at the Helsinki (1993) and Kyoto (1997) conferences.