Why Study the Carbon Cycle?
Carbon is an element that is essential for life as we know it. Living organisms obtain carbon from their environment. When they die, carbon is returned to the non-living environment. However, the concentration of carbon in living matter (18%) is about 100 times higher than the concentration of carbon in the earth (0.19%). The uptake of carbon into living organisms and return of carbon to the non-living environment are not in balance.