Tree planting does not always boost ecosystem carbon stocks, study finds

Posted: July 16, 2020 by oldbrew in Carbon cycle, ideology, research, trees
Tags: ,

Looks like another setback for those looking for solutions to imaginary problems.
– – –
Planting huge numbers of trees to mitigate climate change is “not always the best strategy”—with some experimental sites in Scotland failing to increase carbon stocks, a new study has found.

Experts at the University of Stirling and the James Hutton Institute analysed four locations in Scotland where birch trees were planted onto heather moorland—and found that, over decades, there was no net increase in ecosystem carbon storage, reports

The team—led by Dr. Nina Friggens, of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Stirling—found that any increase to carbon storage in tree biomass was offset by a loss of carbon stored in the soil.

Dr. Friggens said: “Both national and international governments have committed to plant huge numbers of trees to mitigate climate change, based on the simple logic that trees—when they photosynthesise and grow—remove carbon from the atmosphere and lock it into their biomass. However, trees also interact with carbon in soil, where much more carbon is found than in plants.

“Our study considered whether planting native trees on heather moorlands, with large soil carbon stores, would result in net carbon sequestration—and, significantly, we found that over a period of 39 years, it did not.”

Full report here.

Study: Tree planting in organic soils does not result in net carbon sequestration on decadal timescales [open access]

  1. cognog2 says:

    This rather knocks a hole in the contention that the burning of wood pellets is legally DEEMED carbon neutral.

  2. SasjaL says:

    There’s one other factor that needs to be addressed – is the water supply sufficient enough to support the number of trees? If not, …

  3. saighdear says:

    First things first:Foto shows PpL bringing POTTED plants: We go NUTS about contaminating soils with foreign pathogens: -zoo life or botanical. Secondly has a proper analysis been made for nutrients to grow trees? We consider Birches to grow on DRY soils. I don’t know many trees which growon satuurated BOG: whether you drain firs, or PLOW ( but DON’T plant on the well-draining furrow since the surface roots will not penetrate below the furrow slice and the first Gales on tall enough trees will unzip them from the soil. ) Thurdly (!) 😉 – Stirling Uni? a jumped-up Polytechnic Like or UHI as well – do anything to get noticed. Maybe their Students /Graduates are not of a Justifiably competent level to take seriously, I’m sorry to say. All this Tree-growing rubbish on BogLand …. the Flow Country etc. … bah humbug.
    I mean tae say: Growing ANYTHING on a Carbon store? Any o’ thae fowk eva grow onythin’ in th’r gairdeen? Fit? a’m nae hearin well?

  4. ivan says:

    All this shows is that the enviros don’t have a clue as to what they are doing nor how the environment actually works.

    As cognog2 says this should make the commercial production and burning of wood pellets untenable as a ‘green’, ‘carbon neutral’ exercise and therefore not eligible for subsidies.

  5. Coeur de Lion says:

    Do they mean carbon or carbon dioxide? It’s not clear. It takes thirty years for a sapling to start to sequester CO2 in any meaningful way. And jolly little too. Meanwhile let’s flatten many square miles of mature American forest to burn at Drax with its taxpayer subsidy of £800M a year. Criminal. Obscene. Lefty. Debenish

  6. oldbrew says:

    The climate farce continues.

  7. tom0mason says:

    Oh right so moorland heather is better, eh?
    Moorland heather tends to dry out quicker than forest stands, so it is far more prone to fire during summer months than forests.
    How does that fit with their less CO2 bunkum.

  8. Phil Salmon says:

    Ecosystems left to themselves will “decide” what assemblage of plants and animals will best cycle carbon and everything else.

    Seriously – telling ecosystems how to manage carbon? Next they’ll be showing grandmothers how to suck eggs.

  9. oldbrew says:

    Unless humans fully understand all aspects of the carbon cycle, attempts to manipulate it may well fail or even backfire.
    – – –
    JULY 9, 2020
    A ‘regime shift’ is happening in the Arctic Ocean, Stanford scientists say

    Stanford scientists find the growth of phytoplankton in the Arctic Ocean has increased 57 percent over just two decades, enhancing its ability to soak up carbon dioxide. While once linked to melting sea ice, the increase is now propelled by rising concentrations of tiny algae.
    . . .
    “In a given volume of water, more phytoplankton were able to grow each year,” said lead study author Kate Lewis, who worked on the research as a PhD student in Stanford’s Department of Earth System Science. “This is the first time this has been reported in the Arctic Ocean.”

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