After studying “common” Australian trees, researchers at Western Sydney University in Australia have concluded that trees do not store as much carbon as previously thought. This new conclusion could drastically effect how climate change is tackled.
The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change and also concluded that Eucalyptus forests may need extra nutrients from the soil to grow and so “take advantage” of spare carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Researchers partaking in the study exposed large areas of “remnant native eucalypt forest” to high levels of carbon dioxide and found that the gas did increase levels of photosynthesis but that did not increase its level in leaves, stems and wood.
These results could have a substantial effect on how climate change is approached, studied and tackled.
David Ellsworth, from the university’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, “The world pays a lot of attention to climate change modelling, including predictions on the amount of carbon that will be stored in trees.
“These reports are based on models and data taken largely from temperate forests where nutrients are in adequate supply, meaning that estimates on carbon absorption do not account for nutrient shortages on forest productivity.”
His team also suggested that global numbers of carbon storage in forests may be high “since many of the world’s sub-tropical and tropical forested regions exist on low-nutrient soils.”
“Many greenhouse crops such as tomatoes, cut flowers and cucumbers are given added CO2 to make them grow bigger, faster and yield more fruit,” Ellsworth added.