Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New look at old forests: Future growth of U.S. forests expected to decline

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
As forests age, their ability to grow decreases, because energy production (photosynthesis) and energy consumption (respiration) decrease with age, a new study has determined. Since most US forests are maturing from regeneration that began about 100 years ago when extensive clear-cutting occurred, the study suggests the future growth of US forests will decline.

Harvard Forest in Petersham, Mass.
Credit: D. Foster

As forests age, their ability to grow decreases, a new study by Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) scientists and colleagues has determined. Since most U.S. forests are maturing from regeneration that began about 100 years ago when extensive clear-cutting occurred, the study suggests the future growth of U.S. forests will decline.

Related Articles


"All forests are in succession: They get old, die (due to fire, insects, hurricane, etc.), and regenerate. This paper improves on a fundamental theory in ecosystem development: How a forest evolves over time. It demonstrates that when a forest gets old, its ability to grow decreases because it takes up less carbon dioxide and sunlight and respires less, just like an animal or human being," says lead author Jianwu (Jim) Tang, an assistant scientist in the MBL Ecosystem Center.

The traditional theory had posited that when a forest gets old, it would respire more and use more energy. But Tang and colleagues found both energy production (photosynthesis) and energy consumption (respiration) decrease with age, resulting in an overall decrease in growth rates.

"Forests are also big carbon sinks that offset, in part, human-induced carbon emissions. Our finding also suggests the forest carbon sink may decrease in the U.S. because of the slowdown in forest growth," Tang says. "In some other countries, young forests could grow faster and take up more carbon dioxide. To mitigate human-induced climate change and global warming, we may either plant more forests in non-forested lands, decrease use of fossil fuels, or do both."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. The original article was written by Diana Kenney. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Tang, S. Luyssaert, A. D. Richardson, W. Kutsch, I. A. Janssens. Steeper declines in forest photosynthesis than respiration explain age-driven decreases in forest growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1320761111

Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "New look at old forests: Future growth of U.S. forests expected to decline." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603092604.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2014, June 3). New look at old forests: Future growth of U.S. forests expected to decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603092604.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "New look at old forests: Future growth of U.S. forests expected to decline." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603092604.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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