Feeds

Planting trees will not save the planet: official

Bad news for carbon banking

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Bad news for plastic greens: planting trees really isn't going to save us from global warming. Researchers studying pine trees in North Carolina have determined that there is a limit to the amount of extra carbon dioxide a tree can actually turn into more tree.

The decade-long Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) experiment, set up to test the viability of proposals to "bank" humanity's carbon emissions by growing forests, revealed that to make an impact on the amount of CO2 we are pumping out, we'd need to feed the growing trees so much extra water and fertiliser that the societal impact would be unacceptable.

"If water availability decreases to plants at the same time that carbon dioxide increases, then we might not have a net gain in carbon sequestration," said Oren, a professor of ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. "In order to actually have an effect on the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the results suggest a future need to fertilise vast areas. And the impact on water quality of fertilising large areas will be intolerable to society. Water is already a scarce resource."

Scientists working on FACE bathed four plots of trees in levels of carbon dioxide one and a half times those present in today's atmosphere. Another four plots received no extra CO2. On average, the trees with the extra carbon produced 20 per cent more biomass, but the figures varied substantially, from 5 per cent to 40 per cent, depending on the amount of nutrients and water available.

Carboned-up trees were no more likely than normal trees to "self-thin" (a process by which smaller trees die off as big trees get bigger), and the ratio of carbon stored in long-term wood vs. short-term foliage remained the same. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.