Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Live fast, die young’ true for forests too

27.04.2005


Trees in the world¹s most productive forests -- forests that add the most new growth each year -- also tend to die young, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published in a recent issue of the journal Ecology Letters. This discovery could help scientists predict how forests will respond to ongoing and future environmental changes.



"One implication of this fast turnover rate is that the world¹s most productive forests may be those likely to respond most quickly to such things as climatic change," said Nate Stephenson, a USGS research ecologist in Three Rivers, Calif., and lead author of the article.

"You can view a forest like a bank account," said Stephenson. "As long as deposits and withdrawals are similar, your balance remains stable. But if the deposits or withdrawals are disrupted, the balance changes."


In productive forests, such as tropical forests growing on rich soils, the rates of both "deposits" (tree births) and "withdrawals" (tree deaths) are high. But if tree births suddenly stopped, or if tree death rates doubled, the numbers of trees in these forests would be halved in just 30 years. In contrast, said Stephenson, in less productive forests, such as coniferous forests growing at high latitudes, the same changes could take more than a century to occur.

Another implication of the study is that environmental changes considered beneficial to forests may bring about unexpected forest changes. "Most attention so far has been given to things that stress forests, like increased drought," said USGS scientist Phil van Mantgem, the study’s co-author. "Less attention has been given to the consequences of changes that can increase forest vigor or productivity, like increased rainfall."

Environmental changes that increase productivity of a given forest could lead to more rapid turnover of trees, decreasing the average age of trees. In the long run, such changes might affect wildlife populations that prefer younger or older forests, said van Mantgem.

Stephenson and van Mantgem pointed out that increased dominance by younger trees could also lead to changes in the amount of carbon stored in forests, though the direction and magnitude of such potential changes are currently unknown and require more research. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas implicated in climatic warming, increases as carbon storage in forests decreases, and decreases as carbon storage in forests increases. Information regarding such potential changes is therefore needed to reduce uncertainties in predicting future climatic changes.

Nate Stephenson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usgs.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>