Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Recovering tropical forests a sponge for CO2: study
By Marlowe HOOD
Paris (AFP) Feb 4, 2016

Tropical forests reclaiming land cleared for agriculture or livestock not only grow quickly, but absorb far more CO2 from the atmosphere than old-growth trees, according to a study released Wednesday.

The research, published in the journal Nature, challenges long-standing assumptions that virgin tropical forests untouched by logging or industry do a better job of sopping up carbon dioxide and, in so doing, slowing the pace of global warming.

It is also good news because it means regenerating tropic forests could play a even greater role in fighting climate change than previously suspected.

"Carbon uptake is surprisingly fast in these young forests that regrow on abandoned pastures or abandoned agricultural fields," said Lourens Poorter, lead author of the study and a professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

After only two decades, recovering tropical forests in Latin America built up, on average, more than 120 tonnes of biomass per hectare (2.5 acres), and were able to remove three tonnes of carbon per hectare per year from the atmosphere.

"That is 11 times the uptake rate of old-growth forests," Poorter said in a statement.

Forests are a major bulkhead against climate change because plants -- mostly in the tropics -- soak up nearly 30 percent of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide humans pour into the air.

Oceans are another so-called "sink" for CO2, with the rest remaining in the atmosphere.

Deforestation is a double threat: Trees release stored-up CO2 when cut down, and reducing the surface area covered by forests means fewer plants are left to absorb it in the first place.

The planet's largest rainforest, the Amazon, has shrunk by nearly a fifth in the last 50 years, while the Indonesian island of Sumatra has lost about 85 percent of its tree cover.

For the study, a large team of scientists led by Poorter analysed the recovery of 1,500 forest plots and 45 sites across Latin America.

Trees grew most quickly in areas with high rainfall and water availability throughout the year. Soil fertility and the amount of forest cover in the surrounding landscape were less important.

"We also used these data to produce a potential biomass recovery map for Latin America," noted co-author Danae Rozendaal, also of Wageningen University.

"Regional and national policymakers can use this information to identify areas that should be conserved."

Over half of the world's tropical forests are not old-growth, but naturally regenerating after trees had been cleared to make way for crops or cattle.

The three largest tropical forest zones are in the Amazon basin, Indonesia, and central Africa.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Canada protects ancient Pacific coast forest from logging, hunting
Ottawa (AFP) Feb 1, 2016
Decades of protests and then negotiations that brought together loggers, natives and environmental activists resulted Monday in a landmark deal to protect a huge swath of forest on Canada's Pacific coast. The agreement to ban logging in 85 percent of the Great Bear Rainforest and put an end to a commercial trophy hunt in the region for a rare white Kermode bear was announced by the governmen ... read more

Homeless Gazans struggle during harsh winter

Canada considers housing Syrian refugees at military bases

Chinese ship to join Australia-led search for MH370

Facebook blocks unlicensed gun sales

ChemChina 'eyeing Syngenta' in biggest ever Chinese takeover

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer

Energy harvesting via smart materials

A new quantum approach to big data

In the Southern Ocean, a carbon-dioxide mystery comes clear

Mercury in seafood not harmful to aging brain: study

Ready for the high seas?

Iraq awards Italy's Trevi contract to fix imperilled dam

Antarctic study identifies melting ice sheet's role in sea level rise

Greenland model could help estimate sea level rise

Denmark to chair Nordic Defense Cooperation in 2016

New gravity dataset will help unveil the Antarctic continent

Scientists discover how plants tailor growth to the seasons

Transgenic plants' 'die and let live' strategy dramatically increases drought resistance

Organic agriculture key to feeding the world sustainably

China firm offers record $43 bn for agri-giant Syngenta

Lava flow crisis averted

Climate change boosted 'once-a-century' floods: study

Shallow earthquakes and deeper tremors along southern San Andreas fault

Alaska hit by 6.8-magnitude earthquake: USGS

Tanzania arrests three after British wildlife pilot killed

Ugandan opposition general charged at court martial: lawyer

Deploying AU force without Burundi approval 'unimaginable': AU official

Head of Libya's unity government meets army chief

U.K. regulators give the go ahead to modify human embryos

Humans evolved by sharing technology and culture

How environmental awareness helped the Bushmen to poison their game

New research sharpens understanding of poison-arrow hunting in Africa

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement