Navigation Links
Increased tropical forest growth could release carbon from the soil
Date:8/14/2011

A new study shows that as climate change enhances tree growth in tropical forests, the resulting increase in litterfall could stimulate soil micro-organisms leading to a release of stored soil carbon.

The research was led by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the University of Cambridge, UK. The results are published online today (14 August 2011) in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

The researchers used results from a six-year experiment in a rainforest at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, Central America, to study how increases in litterfall - dead plant material such as leaves, bark and twigs which fall to the ground - might affect carbon storage in the soil. Their results show that extra litterfall triggers an effect called 'priming' where fresh carbon from plant litter provides much-needed energy to micro-organisms, which then stimulates the decomposition of carbon stored in the soil.

Lead author Dr Emma Sayer from the UK's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, "Most estimates of the carbon sequestration capacity of tropical forests are based on measurements of tree growth. Our study demonstrates that interactions between plants and soil can have a massive impact on carbon cycling. Models of climate change must take these feedbacks into account to predict future atmospheric carbon dioxide levels."

The study concludes that a large proportion of the carbon sequestered by greater tree growth in tropical forests could be lost from the soil. The researchers estimate that a 30% increase in litterfall could release about 0.6 tonnes of carbon per hectare from lowland tropical forest soils each year. This amount of carbon is greater than estimates of the climate-induced increase in forest biomass carbon in Amazonia over recent decades. Given the vast land surface area covered by tropical forests and the large amount of carbon stored in the soil, this could affect the global carbon balance.

Tropical forests play an essential role in regulating the global carbon balance. Human activities have caused carbon dioxide levels to rise but it was thought that trees would respond to this by increasing their growth and taking up larger amounts of carbon. However, enhanced tree growth leads to more dead plant matter, especially leaf litter, returning to the forest floor and it is unclear what effect this has on the carbon cycle.

Dr Sayer added, "Soils are thought to be a long-term store for carbon but we have shown that these stores could be diminished if elevated carbon dioxide levels and nitrogen deposition boost plant growth."

Co-author Dr Edmund Tanner, from the University of Cambridge, said, "This priming effect essentially means that older, relatively stable soil carbon is being replaced by fresh carbon from dead plant matter, which is easily decomposed. We still don't know what consequences this will have for carbon cycling in the long term."


'/>"/>

Contact: Barnaby Smith
bpgs@ceh.ac.uk
44-792-029-5384
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers present new trends in HIV cure research, call for proactive outreach programs to prevent HIV transmission in injecting drug users, and demand increased commitments to improving maternal and child health
2. Strong El Niño could bring increased sea levels, storm surges to US East Coast
3. Landscape change leads to increased insecticide use in US Midwest
4. Landscape change leads to increased insecticide use in the Midwest
5. Increased protection urgently needed for tunas
6. Vanishing twin explains increased risk of birth defects
7. Imaging cereals for increased crop yields
8. Arthritis patients taking newer treatments do not have an overall increased cancer risk
9. Racial disparities still exist in colorectal cancer screening despite increased Medicare coverage
10. Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased
11. Carbon sequestration estimate in US increased -- barring a drought
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Increased tropical forest growth could release carbon from the soil
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and ... Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. Continue ... ... ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... , March 20, 2017 At this year,s CeBIT ... -based biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together ... is this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest German biometrics company ... use: fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Husson University will be celebrating ... body of knowledge during its Eighth Annual Research and Scholarship Day ... Atrium. During the event, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members from all of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... for advanced technology applications, announced today that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Debbie Gustafson ... SEMI is the global industry association connecting the electronics manufacturing supply chain. ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... philosopher Koert van Mensvoort - founder of the Next Nature Network ... - has written a ,Letter to Humanity, in support of International ... slave and victim to its own technology, but to employ technology to enhance ... ... founder of the Next Nature Network and Fellow of ‘Next Nature’ at the ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... The Vibrating Orifice Aerosol Generator (VOAG) ... monodisperse droplets of known diameters for research applications such as for calibrating droplet ... drying monodisperse droplets. , The VOAG requires forcing liquid out of an ...
Breaking Biology Technology: