Global Warming Reduces Trees’ Ability To Absorb Carbon Dioxide

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Forests absorb more carbon dioxide than they emit, which is why they are called carbon sinks. Unfortunately, a new study found that the Douglas fir, the most common tree in North America, absorbs less CO2 as the world’s temperature rises. Therefore, they will do less to slow climate change as the crisis escalates.

Margaret Evans, the senior author of the study and assistant professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona, said:” More warming for trees could mean more stress, more tree death, and less capacity to slow global warming. Up until now, forests have stabilized the climate, but as they become more drought-stressed, they could become a destabilizing carbon source.”

The researchers chose to study Douglas firs because they have a vast environmental niche – spanning as far south as southern Mexico’s Sonoran Desert and as far north as the frigid peaks of the Rocky Mountains. To gain an understanding of the trees’ potential impact on future climate, the team analyzed the relationship between tree-ring width and environment. The data they gathered was used to predict future growth. Read more…

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