Plants suck up carbon dioxide (CO2) and they emit oxygen (O2). Anyone who stayed awake in freshman chemistry should remember that factoid. If the climate is warming because of a rise in CO2 levels (along with other pollutants) in the atmosphere, then we need all trees we can get. So we should concentrate all our efforts on protecting the Amazon rain forest and other old-growth, equatorial woodlands, right? Well, yes. And, maybe no. Over the past few years, carbon monitoring at the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts has shown that the woods of the Northeastern U.S. are reducing the global increase in carbon by more than 10 percent. In fact, the midlatitude forests — extending from the Carolinas into New England and Canada and the Midwest — are even surpassing the Amazon in terms of their rate of carbon in-take. The reason is that these forests are young forests (former farms growing back and industrial woodlands recently cut over like those in Maine), which means that they're not emitting as much carbon themselves in the form of decomposing trees and foliage. According to the New York Times: "Suddenly, with this new discovery, the forest of the East, back from devastation, is a big and important player in global carbon storage."