Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biomass turnover time in ecosystems is halved by land use

23.08.2016

In order to improve our understanding of climate change and to increase the predictability of future dynamics, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of the global carbon cycle. To date, little is known about the average time carbon is stored in biomass, before it passes back into atmosphere or soils (biomass turnover time), and the factors influencing this key parameter also remain largely unknown. Now, a new publication in Nature Geoscience shows that biomass turnover time in vegetation is halved as a result of human influence.

“One of the greatest uncertainties pertaining to our current understanding of climate change relates to the biomass turnover time, a key ecosystem parameter which determines the amount of carbon withdrawn from the atmosphere and is thus critical for climate change“, Karl-Heinz Erb (Institute of Social Ecology) explains. He and his colleagues are the first to calculate the human impact on the global biomass turnover time. This involved calculating the change in carbon turnover time by comparing the actual vegetation with a hypothetical vegetation state which hypothetically excludes any form of land use.


Traktor für Kohlenstoffumsatz

Dusan-Kostic-Fotolia

Quelle: Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

The results, which are presented in the current issue of Nature Geoscience, reveal that biomass turnover time is halved by land use. Erb further explains: “This acceleration affects all biomes more or less equally, though with significant differences between land-use types such as forestry or agriculture.

The conversion of forests to croplands results in massive acceleration effects, while the use of forests and natural grasslands is also significant, albeit at a considerably lower level per unit of area. However, from a global perspective, these land-use types affect large areas and thus their contributions is also significant.

While conversion of forests to croplands and pastures is responsible for 59 per cent of the acceleration, forestry contributes 26 per cent, and the use of natural grasslands for 15 per cent in total. This finding is noteworthy, because in most studies the effects of forestry and grazing are neglected and robust and adequate data sets are especially scant in this area.

Our study demonstrates that enhanced knowledge about the various forms of land use, including these more subtle ones, will be central to increasing the predictive capabilities with regard to carbon dynamics and future developments of climate change, for instance.”

Responding to the question about the potential implications of this acceleration for humanity, Erb specifies: “What we do know today, is that it affects climate change; what we don’t know yet, is to which extent it does so.”

But as the demand for biomass is growing very rapidly at the moment, this could lead to a further acceleration of the carbon cycle. This could affect the sink function of ecosystems, in other words, their capacity to withdraw carbon from the atmosphere and store it in long-living pools, a central naturel process slowing climate change, would gradually dwindle away. The results clearly illustrate that using biomass as a resource is not climate change neutral.

Erb, K.-H., Fetzel, T., Plutzar, C., Kastner, T., Lauk, C., Mayer, A., Niedertscheider, M., Körner, C., Haberl, H., 2016. Biomass turnover time in terrestrial ecosystems halved by land use. Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo2782.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.aau.at

Dr. Romy Müller | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Atmosphere Geoscience biomass carbon cycle croplands ecosystems land use natural grasslands

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints
16.02.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba
15.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>