Ground Report | New Delhi: 11 gigatonnes of carbon; An international research team has found that about 11 gigatonnes of carbon is released every year from decomposing wood in forests around the world, Forests around the world absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and therefore play an important role in protecting our climate.
The study was carried out in collaboration with the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg (JMU) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), who said the findings can be used to address climate change challenges.
11 gigatonnes of carbon
Researchers from 55 forests across six continents selected wood from more than 140 tree species to assess the effect of climate on the rate of decomposition or destruction. Half the wood was kept in mesh cages. These cages prevented insects from being involved in the decomposition and quantified their contribution to the decomposition or destruction of the wood.
The collected data suggest that the rate of decomposition and the contribution of insects is highly dependent on climate and increases with increasing temperature. More rain accelerates the process of decomposition in warm regions and slows it down in regions where temperatures are lower.
The three-year experiment was completed by 50 research groups around the world under exceptionally difficult conditions. It was necessary to use elaborate measures to protect some areas from elephants. One area was engulfed by wildfires and was rebuilt, while another area was flooded.
93 % of tropical forests contribute disproportionately
According to Rupert Seidel, Professor of Ecosystem Dynamics and Forest Management at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), we can learn about the role of dead trees in the carbon cycle around the world.
93 percent of tropical forests contribute disproportionately to this result because of their high wood mass associated with their rapid decomposition or destruction processes. Decomposition is significantly slower in temperate and boreal forests, indicating that carbon from rotten or dead trees is stored longer in these regions.
About a third of the wood is decomposed by insects eating that wood. Although it is mostly confined to tropical areas, says lead researcher PD Dr Sebastian Siebold. In boreal and temperate forests, the contributions made by insects are small or small.
The study highlights the role played by rotten or dead trees in the global carbon cycle and the functional importance of insects in wood decomposition. Study researcher Professor Jörg Mülleris explains that we can see another difference in the global modeling of carbon cycles. In a time of global change, we may see some dramatic declines in biodiversity and changes in climate.