Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


NASA Finds Trees and Insect Outbreaks Affect Carbon Dioxide Levels


Winds and changing climate converted parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Texas into a giant ’dust bowl’ in the 1930s. In response, the 1937 ’Shelterbelt Project’ involved the planting of trees to reduce erosion and provide relief from the biting winds that blew soil from farms and drove people west to California. Now, almost 75 years later, NASA scientists have found that planting trees also can significantly reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Tree planting and insect control could greatly affect Earth’s greenhouse gases – those gases in the atmosphere that warm the planet – according to NASA scientists who presented their findings this December during the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco.

“Planting trees on marginal agricultural lands could ’sequester’ carbon and offset at least one-fifth of the annual fossil fuel emission of carbon in the United States,” said Christopher Potter, a scientist at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “Scientists also have found that outbreaks of plant-eating insects may be linked with periodic droughts and heat waves in North America, which can trigger large seasonal losses of carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere.” Potter added.

NASA scientists report a satellite-driven computer model that predicts forest re-growth conservatively projects that 0.3 billion metric tons of carbon could be ’stored’ each year in trees growing on relatively low-production crop or rangeland areas in the United States.

The second study involves large-scale disturbances to greenhouse gases detected using global satellite data. "A historical picture is emerging of periodic droughts and heat waves, possibly coupled with herbivorous insect outbreaks, as among the most important causes of ecosystem disturbances in North America," Potter said.

According to scientists, the reason insects affect the planet’s carbon dioxide level is that the six-legged creatures eat and kill trees and other vegetation. When the amount of greenery is reduced on Earth, the remaining plants take in less carbon dioxide. As a result, say scientists, more of this gas remains in the air, instead of being trapped in wood, fiber, leaves and other foliage parts.

The findings about tree planting and insect control are the subjects of two technical papers, co-authored by Potter. Other co-authors of the paper related to tree planting, include Matthew Fladeland, also of NASA Ames, and Steven Klooster, Vanessa Genovese and Marc Kramer, all from California State University, Monterey Bay, Calif., all of whom are co-located at NASA Ames.

Potter’s co-authors for the second ’insect’ study include: Pang-Ning Tan, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.; Vipin Kumar, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; and Klooster.

John Bluck | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>