The carbon storage capacity of protected forests in West Africa has increased despite the region suffering a 40-year drought, a study suggests. A team of UK and Ghanaian researchers found that the tree composition in these areas favoured species that were able to cope with drier conditions. Previous studies suggested that drought conditions resulted in less carbon being stored as vegetation died. The findings have been published in the journal Ecology Letters. "Despite the long-term drought, there was no biomass loss in the forests. In fact, the biomass actually increased during that period," explained co-author Sophie Fauset from the University of Leeds. Biomass is a vital component in the global carbon cycle. When plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide and water in the photosynthesis process.