Navigation Links
Global warming may affect the capacity of trees to store carbon, MBL study finds
Date:5/25/2011

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MASS.One helpful action anyone can take in response to global warming is to plant trees and preserve forests. Trees and plants capture carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, thereby removing the most abundant greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and storing some of it in their woody tissue.

Yet global warming may affect the capacity of trees to store carbon by altering forest nitrogen cycling, concludes a study led by Jerry Melillo, Distinguished Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Ecosystems Center, and published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper summarizes the results of a 7-year study at Harvard Forest in central Massachusetts, in which a section of the forest (about one-quarter of an acre) was artificially warmed about 9oF above ambient, to simulate the amount of climate warming that might be observed by the end of the century without aggressive actions to control greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation.

The study confirmed, as others have, that a warmer climate causes more rapid decomposition of the organic matter in soil, leading to an increase in carbon dioxide being released to the atmosphere.

But the study also showed, for the first time in a field experiment, that warmer temperatures stimulate the gain of carbon stored in trees as woody tissue, partially offsetting the soil carbon loss to the atmosphere. The carbon gains in trees, the scientists found, is due to more nitrogen being made available to the trees with warmer soil.

"Tree growth in many of the forests in the United States is limited by the lack of nitrogen," Melillo says. "We found that warming causes nitrogen compounds locked up in soil organic matter to be released as inorganic forms of nitrogen such as ammonium, a common form of nitrogen found in garden fertilizer. When trees take up this inorganic nitrogen, they grow faster and store more carbon."

Melillo says that the biological processes that link soil warming, increased soil organic matter decay, increased nitrogen availability to trees, and increased tree growth will likely operate together in many temperate and boreal forestsforests found in North America, Europe, Eurasia and much of the developed world. Tree growth in tropical forests is often limited by factors other than nitrogen, so lessons from this new study are not widely relevant in the tropics.

While Melillo thinks that the carbon-nitrogen interactions he is studying at Harvard Forest will help us to make predictions of carbon storage in forest over the coming decades, he adds that "the carbon balance of forest ecosystems in a changing climate will also depend on other factors that will change over the century, such as water availability, the effects of increased temperature on both plant photosynthesis and aboveground plant respiration, and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide."


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Kenney
dkenney@mbl.edu
508-289-7139
Marine Biological Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New study provides global analysis of seagrass extinction risk
2. European Commission Funds Global Project to Produce Ethanol, Biodiesel and Bioproducts From Algae
3. Striking ecological impact on Canadas Arctic coastline linked to global climate change
4. Scientists at the Ecological Society of Americas 2011 Annual Meeting to discuss global stewardship
5. Will global climate change enhance boreal forest growth?
6. US farmers dodge the impacts of global warming -- at least for now
7. Purdue-led team studies Earths recovery from prehistoric global warming
8. Democrats and Republicans increasingly divided over global warming
9. Shootingstars provide clues to likely response of plants to global warming
10. Antarctic icebergs play a previously unknown role in global carbon cycle, climate
11. Reportlinker Adds Bioinformatics - A Global Market Overview
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Global warming may affect the capacity of trees to store carbon,  MBL study finds
(Date:12/15/2016)... Germany , December 15, 2016 ... today announced an agreement with NuData Security, an award-winning ... The partnership will enable clients to focus on good customer ... data protection regulation. ... In order to provide a one-stop fraud prevention ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... DUBLIN , Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced ... to their offering. The report forecasts the global military ... 2016-2020. The report has been prepared based on an ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 15, 2016  There is much more to innovative ... the engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry ... biometric elements, the international technology company is opening up ... authentication. "The integration of biometric elements brings ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)...  Only nine percent of U.S. consumers believe pharmaceutical ... 16 percent believe health insurance companies do, according to ... of U.S. adults believe health care providers (such as ... hospitals (23%). "We are in the midst ... , vice president of reputation management and public affairs ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Pono Ola , a mind-body wellness firm on a ... official launch of its much-anticipated Pono Board: a re-invented fitness and anti-fatigue balance board ... over a year, the patented Pono Board is the world’s only exercise balance board ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... research, recently announced a collaboration with the Heidelberg University Hospital and the German ... library preparation, following the company’s successful launch of its CATS (Capture and ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... January 16, 2017 , ... Appellate Court of ... on the appeal filed by India-based Dishman Pharmaceutical & Chemical Ltd. company (DPCL) ... and one of its Dishman Group’s 100% wholly owned New Jersey-based subsidiary Dishman ...
Breaking Biology Technology: