Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reforestation may lower the climate change mitigation potential of forests

Date:
May 31, 2010
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
Scientists in the U.S. and China have found that reforestation and afforestation -- the creation of new forests -- may lower the potential of forests for climate change lessening.

Scientists at the University of Oklahoma and the Fudan University in Shanghai, China, have found that reforestation and afforestation -- the creation of new forests -- may lower the potential of forests for climate change lessening.

Yiqi Luo, professor of ecology in the OU College of Arts and Sciences Department of Botany and Microbiology, and Changzhang Liao, Bo Li and Changming Fang, professors of ecology in the Fudon University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, examined whether plantations have the same ecosystem carbon stock as natural forests.

By synthesizing 86 experimental studies between plantations and their natural forest counterparts, Luo and colleagues found plantations substantially reduce carbon stock in ecosystems in comparison with natural forests.

"That decrease in ecosystem carbon stock should be accounted for, together with other forest products such as the harvested wood, when the total mitigation of reforestation is evaluated," said Luo.

This study challenges the idea that planting non-native or native-improved growth species on historical forest land yields greater carbon accumulations rates. They argue against the replacement of natural forests by reforestation, also known as plantations, to help stave off climate change.

Plantations established on non-forested fields such as agricultural lands do help with the control of carbon emissions; however, converting farmland to forests decreases the amount of carbon absorbed by the soil. Another form of gas, methane, also is affected by the conversion. Converted soil loses 80 percent of capability to degrade methane as compared to natural forests when it is developed as a plantation.

To minimize negative effects of plantation, appropriate forest management practices need to be adopted. Site preparation without burning, for example, leads to less soil carbon loss than that with burning. To avoid ecosystem degradation associated with plantations, restoration measures need to be implemented to engineer ecosystems toward their natural potentials.

"The shifts from natural forests to plantations can also generate other ecological problems," writes Luo. "For example, soil bulk density, representing the degree of soil compaction, increases, possibly leading to limitation of rooting systems and destruction of soil structure in plantations. Additionally, plantations decrease stream flow.

"On the positive side, plantations can provide commodities for human needs (e.g., timbers). Therefore, we are now facing a great challenge of developing a management policy for plantation practice that minimizes their negative impacts on ecosystems but maximizes their commodity values."

Findings from this research were recently published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chengzhang Liao, Yiqi Luo, Changming Fang, Bo Li, Andy Hector. Ecosystem Carbon Stock Influenced by Plantation Practice: Implications for Planting Forests as a Measure of Climate Change Mitigation. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (5): e10867 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010867

Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "Reforestation may lower the climate change mitigation potential of forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100528211152.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2010, May 31). Reforestation may lower the climate change mitigation potential of forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100528211152.htm
University of Oklahoma. "Reforestation may lower the climate change mitigation potential of forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100528211152.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins