Washington, May 26: One helpful action anyone can take to counter global warming is to plant trees and preserve forests. Trees and plants capture carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, thereby removing the most abundant greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and storing some of it in their woody tissue.
Yet global warming may affect the capacity of trees to store carbon by altering forest nitrogen cycling, concludes a study led by Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Lab (MBL), reports the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The paper summarizes the results of a seven-year study at Harvard Forest in central Massachusetts, in which a fourth of an acre was artificially warmed about 9 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient, to simulate the amount of climate warming that might be observed by the end of the century without aggressive actions to control greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation, according to a Marine Lab statement.
The study confirmed, as others have, that a warmer climate causes more rapid decomposition of the organic matter in soil, leading to an increase in carbon dioxide being released to the atmosphere.