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:4/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics ... during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics ... such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... -- IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central ... in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi. ... patients can routinely track key health measurements, such as ... when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians ... retail location at no cost. By leveraging this data, ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by ... & Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... is expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston Business Journal, ... companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The list examined companies ... revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award comes on the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 ... Assessing Developers and Producers of Those Competitor Biologics  ... to Companies, Activities and Prospects ,  Who ... companies? And what are their sales potentials? Discover, ... you see results, trends, opportunities and revenue forecasting. ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... Meister Media Worldwide launches its new ... added functionality give the agricultural world a taste of Meister Media Worldwide’s full ... – from precision farming via satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to indoor ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Amendia, Inc., a leading designer, developer, manufacturer ... completion of a significant transaction and partnership that positions Amendia for accelerated growth ... Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a leading private equity firm specializing in middle ...
Breaking Biology Technology: