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of climate change relates to the biomass turnover time, a key ecosystem parameter which determines the amount of carbon withdrawn from the atmosphere and is thus critical for climate change“, Karl-Heinz Erb (Institute of Social Ecology) explains.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 Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

nachricht Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior
23.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>