Navigation Links
The bigger the tree, the faster it grows

Lincoln, Neb., Jan. 15, 2013 -- Contrary to long-held misconceptions, trees never stop growing during their lifespans, a new study has found.

In fact, as they age, their growth accelerates, even after they've reached massive sizes. This means that older trees play a substantial and disproportionate role in the Earth's carbon cycle -- one of the cycles that makes Earth capable of sustaining life.

The groundbreaking findings are in a new study co-authored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln biologist Sabrina Russo and published today in Nature. Researchers analyzed the compiled biomass growth measurements of 673,046 trees belonging to 403 species from various temperate and tropical regions across six continents.

They concluded that for most tree species, mass growth rate continues to increase with their size, with some species' largest trees growing by a mass equivalent to a mid-sized tree in a single year.

"Looking at data from whole forests -- that is, all trees in a forest considered together as a unit -- it is often found that forest productivity declines with the age of the forest, but that does not mean that the growth of the oldest trees declines," said Russo, a forest ecologist in UNL's School of Biological Sciences. "What turns out to be key to understanding tree growth is to examine the growth pattern of each individual, not just the forest stand as a whole."

In addition to discovering this property of tree growth, the conclusions also contribute to understanding the global carbon cycle because trees, like all plants, take up carbon dioxide from the air and sequester it in their biomass.

"About 50 percent of a tree's wood is carbon, so a rapidly growing, large, old tree can remove huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, through an enormous photosynthetic flux -- far more than a younger, smaller tree can," Russo said.

"While they are alive, these giant elders of the forest play a disproportionately important role in a forest's carbon dynamics."

While 38 researchers from 29 institutions collaborated on the study, Russo was instrumental in the research. She contributed to development of the data analysis methods, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the results.

Russo's principal research site in Lambir Hills National Park in Malaysia on the island of Borneo also lent data to the study for 76 Southeast Asian tree species.

Contact: Sabrino Russo
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Related biology news :

1. Genetic discovery points the way to much bigger yields in tomato, other flowering food plants
2. Bigger, better, faster
3. Bigger lungs may be better for transplants
4. Bigger birth weight babies at greater risk of autism
5. Bigger creatures live longer, travel farther for a reason
6. For mitochondria, bigger may not be better
7. Want bigger plants? Get to the root of the matter
8. Bigger refuges needed to delay pest resistance to biotech corn
9. Bigger gorillas better at attracting mates and raising young
10. Trees grow faster and store more carbon as they age
11. EU policy is driving up demand for pollination faster than honeybee numbers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into ... of vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer ... drivers, and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive ... the vehicle. Europe , ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... to $9 million to provide preclinical development services to ... Under the contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern ... a wide variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies ... --> --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute ... "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for ... Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers ... --> --> Synthetic ... the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will be presenting at the ... on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT . ... a corporate overview. th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference ... a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola , vice president of ... --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide ... Carolina , today announced that the company has set a ... a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 ... and Mexico , with the establishment of ... December 2015. --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 --> ... report released by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive ... CAGR of 17.5% during the period between 2014 and ... Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and ... testing market to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier ... models, has promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , ... the management team and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: