Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon

Date:
April 14, 2014
Source:
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Summary:
The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers. "This paper produces the first evidence that to really understand the carbon cycle, you have to look into issues of nutrient cycling within the soil," said one of the researchers.

The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers, including IIASA.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed that forests growing in fertile soils with ample nutrients are able to sequester about 30% of the carbon that they take up during photosynthesis. In contrast, forests growing in nutrient-poor soils may retain only 6% of that carbon. The rest is returned to the atmosphere as respiration.

"This paper produces the first evidence that to really understand the carbon cycle, you have to look into issues of nutrient cycling within the soil," says IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program Director Michael Obersteiner, who worked on the study as part of a new international research project sponsored by the European Research Council.

Marcos Fernandez-Martinez, first author of the paper and researcher at the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) says, "In general, nutrient-poor forests spend a lot of energy -- carbon -- through mechanisms to acquire nutrients from the soil, whereas nutrient-rich forests can use that carbon to enhance biomass production."

Until now, scientific models to predict forest carbon sequestration on a global scale had only considered the amount of nitrogen in the soil and did not take into account other constraints such as phosphorus or the pH of the soil, which is related to the availability of nutrients. The new study includes both those factors as well as nitrogen availability, in an analysis synthesizing data from 92 forests in different climate zones on the planet. Tropical rainforests had the poorest nutrient availability, and the lowest efficiency for carbon sequestration, the researchers found.

The researchers believe that the difference in efficiency of carbon absorption could be due to several factors. For one thing, plants in nutrient-poor soils devote more energy to locating nutrients.

"When plants are in nutrient poor conditions, they send out more roots and produce chemicals that can help dissolve nutrients from the soil. This takes energy, though, and so the plants produce less biomass," says Obersteiner.

Furthermore, the study showed that nutrient-rich ecosystems also generally have more stable ground organic material, which is not easily degraded, and thus retains more carbon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Fernández-Martínez, S. Vicca, I. A. Janssens, J. Sardans, S. Luyssaert, M. Campioli, F. S. Chapin III, P. Ciais, Y. Malhi, M. Obersteiner, D. Papale, S. L. Piao, M. Reichstein, F. Rodà, J. Peñuelas. Nutrient availability as the key regulator of global forest carbon balance. Nature Climate Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2177

Cite This Page:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. "Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414101158.htm>.
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. (2014, April 14). Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414101158.htm
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. "Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414101158.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) — A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 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