[MCN] How logging contributes to climate destabilization
lance at wildrockies.org
Mon Apr 18 10:29:48 EDT 2016
Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils, Dartmouth study finds
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE PUBLIC RELEASE: 15-APR-2016
HANOVER, N.H. - Clear-cutting loosens up carbon stored in forest
soils, increasing the chances it will return to the atmosphere as
carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change, a Dartmouth College
The findings appear in the journal Soil Science.
Soil is the world's largest terrestrial carbon pool. In northern
hardwood forests in the United States, mineral soil pools store up to
50 percent of total ecosystem carbon. Logging and other land-use
changes are a major cause of soil carbon release, but there has been
recent interest to further understand soil carbon dynamics in
forested ecosystems after logging. This is of particular importance
in the northeastern U.S. because of the great potential for the use
of biomass as part of a diversified renewable energy portfolio.
The Dartmouth researchers explored whether clear-cutting changes the
strength of the chemical bonds of carbon stored in mineral soils in
hardwood forests in the northeastern United States. Clear-cutting
involves harvesting all timber from a site at once rather than
selectively culling mature trees. Carbon is stored in soil by binding
only to certain soil structures.
The researchers collected soils from recently clear-cut forests and
from older forests, and pulled carbon from the soil in a sequence of
gentle to stronger extractions. The results showed that mature forest
stands stored significantly more soil organic carbon in strongly
mineral-bound and stable carbon pools than did soils from cut stands.
"Clear-cutting forests has an effect of mobilizing the carbon, making
it more likely to leave the soil and end up in the atmosphere," says
senior author Andrew Friedland, a professor of environmental studies.
"These findings are important because differences in the relative
distribution of carbon in organo-mineral pools in mature and cut
forests may inform our understanding of soil organic matter stability
and bioavailability, microbial decomposition and carbon dioxide
production in ecosystems after clear-cutting."
The global climate change agreement brokered in Paris in December by
195 nations will come into effect two years earlier than originally
planned, the top United Nations climate diplomat predicted.
Even so, she said the deal had come "10 years too late," and that the
world is now at "two minutes to midnight."
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Missoula-Community-News