New study suggests tundra conversion to forest could increase atmospheric CO2 levels
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — While some climate research suggests that warming temperatures could lead to faster tree growth, and thus, more carbon capture, new research from the University of Exeter concludes that new forests growing in the Arctic could result in a net gain of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
That’s because those new forests will free up carbon previously held frozen in the tundra and release it as part of their growth cycle, the researcher said. Those emissions could outweigh increased carbon sequestration by forests in other parts of the world.
As a basis for their research, the scientists acknowleged that the Arctic is getting greener as plant growth increases in response to a warmer climate. The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, shows that, by stimulating decomposition rates in soils, the expansion of forest into tundra in arctic Sweden could result in the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. (more…)