For carbon storage, biodiversity can help -- or hurt
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Posted by: Dana Walker
Biodiversity plays a significant role in forest carbon storage, but surprisingly less than
previously thought, new research in Ecology Letters suggests.
By analyzing stores of carbon in temperate and boreal forests, researchers found that tree diversity does influence the amount of carbon stored in a given part of an ecosystem. But in a departure from previous research, researchers found biodiversity's role was relatively small when compared to other forest traits and environmental factors -- and even can decrease carbon storage in some cases.
The research team, led by Carol Adair of the University of Vermont and David Hooper of Western Washington University, found that climate, site topography, time since fire, and characteristics of the tree species in each plot explained most of the variation in forest carbon storage across temperate and boreal forests in Québec, Canada. Alain Paquette of Université du Québec à Montréal and Bruce Hungate of Northern Arizona University co-authored the study.