Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Older and more diverse forests are more stable in taking up carbon dioxide

27.01.2017

Plants take up carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Part of it is later released again by respiration. Overall, forests tend to take up more CO₂ than they release. However, their strength to act as such carbon sink fundamentally depends on the forests’ potential to take up CO₂ through photosynthesis. This property, called photosynthetic capacity, is highly variable between years and influenced by climate variability. Writing in Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers now report that in old forests with high species richness the effect of climate variability on photosynthetic capacity is dampened.

The total uptake of carbon dioxide by ecosystems via photosynthesis is the largest flux in the global carbon cycle. The intensity of this “natural CO₂ pump” shapes the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas. However, this key process is influenced by climate variability, which translates into year-to-year variations of CO₂ taken up by forests.


Old forest in Hessen, Germany

Achim Lueckemeyer / pixelio, www.pixelio.de


BACI logo

“Understanding the causes of the year-to-year variations in photosynthetic CO₂ uptake improves our understanding of the global carbon cycle and its sensitivity to climate”, says Markus Reichstein, co-author and Director at Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany.

In a search for environmental factors that determine the amplitude of the year-to-year variability in the photosynthetic capacity of forests, an international research team led by Talie Musavi of the same institute compiled data from 50 globally distributed forests across different climatic regions.

The scientists combined a variety of different data sources including ecosystem-atmosphere CO₂ fluxes from a global network of measurement sites, climate data, biodiversity information, nutrient availability, forest age, and other properties derived from satellite data, such as forest height and tree cover. The scientists then tried to identify the main factors that buffer the annual variations of photosynthetic capacity.

“The year to year variability is driven by climate but the magnitude of the year to year variability decreases in older and more diverse forests. We conclude that the stability of photosynthetic capacity is mostly controlled by forest age and species richness”, says Talie Musavi. This finding can be read as a scientific call to preserving old forests and their diversity in order to stabilize their functionality.

The study belongs to a series of activities emerging from the European project BACI “Biosphere-Atmosphere Change Index”, an international project funded in the context of EU’s Horizon2020 program. “Our project in particular aims at integrating remote sensing data archives, but also a wide range of biodiversity data, and long-term observations of ecosystem functioning.” explains Miguel Mahecha who coordinates the project at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry. BACI is developing methods and seeks to foster research into better understanding how our ecosystems interact with the atmosphere.

Original publication
Talie Musavi, Mirco Migliavacca, Markus Reichstein, Jens Kattge, Christian Wirth, T. Andrew Black, Ivan Janssens, Alexander Knohl, Denis Loustau, Olivier Roupsard, Andrej Varlagin, Serge Rambal, Alessandro Cescatti, Damiano Gianelle, Hiroaki Kondo, Rijan Tamrakar and Miguel D. Mahecha. (2017). Stand age and species richness dampen interannual variation of ecosystem-level photosyn-thetic capacity. Nature Ecology & Evolution.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-016-0048

BACI project reference:
http://baci-h2020.eu/index.php/

Contact
Talie Musavi
Email: tmusavi@bgc-jena.mpg.de

Mirco Migliavacca
Phone: +49 (0)3641 57 6281
Email: mmiglia@bgc-jena.mpg.de

Miguel Mahecha
Phone: +49 (0)3641 57 6265
Email: mmahecha@bgc-jena.mpg.de

Institutions that participated in the study

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Institute of Special Botany and Functional Biodiversity, University of Leipzig, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Biometeorology and Soil Physics Group, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, 2329 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
University of Antwerpen, Department of Biology, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
Bioclimatology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
INRA, ISPA, Centre de Bordeaux Aquitaine, 71 Avenue Edouard Bourlaux, 33140 Villenave-d’Ornon, France.
UMR Ecologie Fonctionnelle and Biogéochimie des Sols et Agroécosystèmes, SupAgro-CIRAD-INRA-IRD, Montpellier, France
A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119071, Russia
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CEFE, UMR 5175, CNRS, Montpellier, France
Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, MG, 37200-000, Brazil
European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Directorate for Sustainable Resources, 21027, Ispra, Italy
Department of Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems and Bioresources, Research and Innovation Center, Fondazione Edmund Mach, 38010 San Michele all’ Adige Trento, Italy
Foxlab Joint CNR-FEM Initiative, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige, Italy
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8561, Japan

Weitere Informationen:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-016-0048 Original publication
http://baci-h2020.eu/index.php/ BACI project webpage

Dr. Eberhard Fritz | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Volcanoes and glaciers combine as powerful methane producers
20.11.2018 | Lancaster University

nachricht Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>