Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Without disturbances in nature the world’s forests will be impoverished

21.06.2004


The forests of the world are not the stable and unchanging ecosystems they have been assumed to be. Without the occurrence of wide-spread disturbances in nature, such as forest fires, icing, or volcanic activity, forests will eventually be impoverished, owing to a lack of phosphorous.

This is shown in a study reported in this week’s issue of the journal Science. The scientists who carried out the investigation are David Wardle, Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden, Richard Bardgett, University of Lancaster, U.K., and Lawrence Walker, University of Nevada, U.S.

The three researchers have examined soil profiles from forested land in six places around the world: in Arjeplog in Swedish Lapland, Alaska, Hawaii, Eastern Australia, and southern New Zealand (two locations). In all places there are soils of extremely varying age, from very young to several thousand years old. The oldest soil, in Hawaii, was 4.1 million years old.



In all six locations forests grew least well in the oldest soils, because the access to absorbable phosphorous was limited in comparison with access to absorbable nitrogen. When soils age, less phosphorous becomes available to trees, since phosphorous is not biologically replenished in the soil or supplied to the ecosystem in any other way. Nitrogen, on the other hand, is renewable; atmospheric nitrogen is continuously supplied to the soil and is tranformed by soil bacteria to forms of nitrogen that the trees can take up. It is not a lack of nitrogen, as has previously been thought, but a lack of phosporous that lies behind poor growth in forests when they become old.

The shortage of phosphorous in the older soils also influenced the soil organisms in a negative manner, reducing their ability to release soils nutrients. The scientists draw several conclusions from their findings. First of all, they show that greater disturbances are necessary if we wish to renew forest ecosystems. What type of disturbances are required varies with soil type, but forest fires, icing, or volcanic activity can be mentioned. If such disturbances do not occur, forests cannot be endlessly renewed. Ultimately the lack of phosphorous will become such a hindrance that the soil will no longer be able to provide sufficient nourishment for densely planted forests with large trees.

A second conclusion is that productive forests are temporary, seen from the perspective of a thousand or ten thousand years: if no disturbances occur in nature, then such forests will slowly be impoverished. The patterns for how this impoverishment takes place, and its underlying mechanisms, are the same, regardless of what type of forest it is and where it is located on earth. The same processes occur in boreal, temperate, and tropical climates, albeit at different rates.

Carin Wrange | alfa
Further information:
http://www.svek.slu.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>