Etiqueta: climate change
A study led by CREAF has found that new forests growing on abandoned rural land are able to capture more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than long-established forests. This effect could be temporary, however, as the wood of their trees is less dense, making them more vulnerable to extreme climate events.
The main carbon store in the planet’s soil is peat, a deposit of plant origin found in water-saturated areas called peat bogs or peatlands. In total, peatlands contain over 550 gigatons of carbon in the form of partially decomposed plant matter, representing 42% of all soil carbon worldwide. There are peat bogs everywhere from the tropics to the polar icecaps, but polar peatlands are particularly important because of the large expanse of the Earth’s surface they cover and the fact that they often lie in areas of permafrost, i.e. perennially frozen ground. Permafrost immobilizes carbon in peat, helping prevent it from being released into the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4). There is permafrost under approximately 25% of the surface of the Northern Hemisphere. Permafrost immobilizes carbon in peat, helping prevent it from being released into the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide or methane. CREAF researchers Olga Margalef, Oriol Grau and Sergi Pla-Rabés have recently returned from an expedition to northern Alaska (Toolik, 68º N), which they undertook to gain an insight into what will happen if global warming causes the permafrost in peat bogs to melt. Understanding the key role peatlands play in the functioning of the planet is vital and urgent, not only because they act as a carbon sink but also because they contain a large quantity of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, whose cycle in such ecosystems has been the subject of very little study. “Permafrost degradation is occurring because rising temperatures are melting the ice it contains”, says Olga Margalef. “Southern permafrost boundaries are receding northwards and have fallen back by 30 to 80 km over the last few decades”, she notes. “It’s crucial that we study the effects of the thawing of permafrost to understand how biogeochemical cycles could change worldwide”, she continues. “We expect that huge amounts of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere, and that large quantities of phosphorus and nitrogen will be released into water and made available to organisms.” Southern permafrost boundaries are receding northwards and have fallen back by 30 to 80 km over the last few decades. This was the researchers’ second field campaign, following a previous expedition to the province of Lappland in Sweden. Both campaigns received funding from INTERACT (a European initiative for giving young researchers access to remote research stations) through the P-PEAT and P-PEAT 2 projects. The samples taken in Sweden shed light on 9,000 years of the region’s history In 2018, the researchers sampled plants and soil at a range of depths in Sweden, where the permafrost is discontinuous and the ice forms small, lentil-like spots. Their goal was to compare areas in which the permafrost had remained intact and others in which it had recently thawed. “Frozen soil isn’t easy to sample – it’s as hard as rock – and you have to use a drilling machine”, remarks Oriol Grau. “The one we used was designed specifically for our work and was fitted with a motor”, he explains. The goal was to compare areas in which the permafrost had remained intact and others in which it had recently thawed. The researchers also took a continuous sample of soil spanning a vertical distance of more than a metre to enable them to study the layers of peat that had been built up over time and which the permafrost had preserved like the pages of a book. The sample will be used to reconstruct environmental conditions in the distant past. “The sample contains more than 9,000 years of the region’s history, so it will help us understand the dynamics of permafrost formation and degradation in the Holocene”, says Sergi Pla-Rabés. Alaska’s permafrost is melting too In Alaska, in contrast, the permafrost is continuous. Even so, the researchers observed permafrost zones where warming had already caused degradation, both at the edges and in the middle of peat bogs. They did so by taking peat samples at different depths in the unfrozen, living surface layer and the frozen part alike. They also sampled plants and carried out exhaustive sampling on water to study its chemistry and the abundance of diatoms (a type of microscopic algae) in it. The researchers reported that colder temperatures, heavy rain and snow, and a two-and-a-half-hour slog from the research station to the sampling area made the second campaign a great deal harder than the first. "The researchers observed permafrost zones where warming had already caused degradation, both at the edges and in the middle of peat bogs." Comparing the findings of the two campaigns will help further our understanding of the effects of the thawing of continuous and discontinuous permafrost.
Climate change is toppling our Earth's ecosystems out of balance in multiple ways, with often dramatic consequences. Many plants and animals are already impacted. But surprisingly, it is only poorly understood which are the specific threats, and how the actual consequences will look like.
According to a study published recently in the journal PNAS, climate change has caused forests to alter the way they grow, in that they only take advantage of the fertilizing effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) to grow faster if they have plenty of water.
A study just published in the scientific journal Nature Communications presents worrying results on animals’ adaptation to climate change. It concludes that while species are changing some aspects of their lives in response to global warming, they are not doing so quickly enough and do not always make the right changes.
A CREAF-led European study published in the journal Global Change Biology warns that the drought associated with climate change could reduce soil fauna diversity and slow the decomposition of leaf litter (fallen leaves, twigs, bark, etc.), potentially hindering the recycling of nutrients for plants throughout Europe.
According to an article by CREAF researchers Benjamin Stocker and Josep Peñuelas published in Nature Geoscience, drought impact studies based on satellite data do not factor in the effects of soil moisture.
Tropical forests are the terrestrial plant ecosystems to which climate change poses the greatest risk20 de March 2019CREAF
A study involving CREAF's Josep Peñuelas has identified the optimal temperatures of terrestrial plant ecosystems throughout the world and indicates the size of their margin for adaptation to warming. Outside that margin, ecosystem growth slows sharply.
Which new practices and tools can improve the climate mitigation and adaptation potential of EU forests?27 de February 2019CREAF
A final report of the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on ‘New forest practices and tools for adaptation and mitigation of climate change’ was published last January. Enrique Doblas, as an expert involved in this Focus Group, was involved in this publication.
CREAF and ICO (Catalan Ornithological Institute) researchers Sergi Herrando and Lluís Brotons have participated in a study that shows populations of birds described as “mountain specialists” to have fallen by 10% in a decade in Europe. The situation is even more alarming in the Pyrenees and elsewhere in the Iberian Peninsula, where mountain bird populations fell by 21%.
According to a study published yesterday in the Nature Climate Change journal, the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) increased between 1994 and 2014. The study highlights the need to protect tropical forests, as their carbon sequestration rate has risen more than that of any other type of forest over the last few years.
On 29-30 November 2018, the National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry (INRGREF) and the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF) co-organised the FASTER Kick-off meeting gathering for the first time representatives of its consortium partners. This event allowed the participants to familiarise with the planned work for the next three years of the project’s duration, and to agree on the imminent actions for the coming months.
Which plant species grow where, alongside which others - and why? In a new study, an international research team presents the world's first global vegetation database which contains over 1.1 million complete lists of plant species for all terrestrial ecosystems.
A study led by CREAF researcher Judit Lecina Díaz has mapped Spain's carbon and biodiversity hotspots, which are located in the Pyrenees and their foothills, Madrid, Cuenca, La Rioja and Andalusia, and along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea.
Trees that have grown in highly suitable climatic conditions are less capable of dealing with extreme droughts, according to a study that underlines the importance of taking a forest's history into consideration when deciding how best to conserve and manage it.
Josep Penuelas visited China as grantee of the Distinguished Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Science15 de June 2018CREAF
The West world, with its desire for expansion and exploration of new and unknown territories, has deprived indigenous communities of their traditional methods of life and culture. The Arctic tribes have not either been an exception.
Coordinated by CREAF and comprising more than 50 European organizations, NEMOR has produced a document seeking the European Commission's recognition of mountains as a unique setting for activities such as testing related to the effects of climate change, reversing depopulation and promoting new circular economy projects.
Need for re-evaluation of water, forest and agriculture management strategies in Catalan strategy for climate change adaptation24 de April 2018Albert Naya i Díaz
The final conclusions of the LIFE MEDACC project, conducted by the Catalan Office for Climate Change (OCCC) of the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability, CREAF, IPE-CSIC and IRTA, draw attention to the need to adapt forest, agriculture and water management strategies to the new arid conditions expected as a result of climate change. Since 1973, the water flow at the headwaters of the Muga and Ter rivers has dropped by almost half, and the volume of the middle and lower sections of the Segre has decreased by as much as 60%.
Plants' annual growing season has lengthened, exposing them to frost more often at a time when they are particularly sensitive. That can be detrimental to their activity and lead to substantial crop yield losses.
CREAF and the companies Altran and Starlab have led the design of RitmeNatura.cat, a citizen observatory that encourages members of the public to ‘adopt’ a plant, record the changes it undergoes and provide data that can be used to study the effects of climate change.
Once rehydrated, holm oaks have a large capacity for recovery thanks to their high adaptation to the Mediterranean climate. The release of organic compounds into the soil represents a considerable loss of carbon for the holm oak and also modifies the microbial community, which may lead to additional effects on the tree.
The increase in drought episodes and the lack of water in the soil have favored Mediterranean species. At the same time, conifers are losing ground because they are less adapted to droughts. These trends correspond to the period of 1987 to 2012 and have been confirmed through satellite remote sensing images.
A study led by CREAF shows that decreases in pollutant deposition and the increase in atmospheric CO2 have stimulated photosynthesis and carbon sequestration in forests. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how carbon circulates in the atmosphere, in living organisms, oceans, and soils in order to anticipate the effects of climate change.
The Global Carbon Budget 2017 has analyzed carbon emission sources and sinks worldwide. This year the researcher Benjamin Stocker from CREAF has collaborated in the report contributing and preparing data about how the change in the use we give to the territory has affected CO₂ emissions.
The production of essential crops such as wheat, maize, rice, and soybean will be substantially reduced. Effective measures for climate change adaptation will be necessary, as well as improvements in crop genetics in order to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Some giant trees, such as cedars and redwoods, are an example of great longevity and their populations depend much more on tendencies than on specific traumatic episodes. Climate change and human pressures can put their survival at risk.
A new study led by Josep Peñuelas and published in Nature Ecology and Evolution reveals that CO2 abundance in the atmosphere no longer has a powerful fertilizing effect on vegetation. The greening that has been observed in recent years is slowing and this will cause CO2 levels in the atmosphere to rise, thus increasing temperatures and leading to increasingly severe changes in climate.
A new study has concluded that, universally, trees that have died from drought are unable to transport water to their leaves. The findings also highlight trees that have drained their carbon reserves since they are not able to carry out photosynthesis. The results of the study will permit the creation of more precise models for predicting the effects of climatic changes on vegetation.
An extensive review of studies and databases reveals that drought and an increase in temperature are already causing species substitutions, greater aridity, higher forest fire risk, lower soil fertility, and lower water availability, among other negative impacts.
The manual, in which the CREAF researchers Anabel Sánchez and Annelies Broekman have participated, summarizes the stages of the BeWater project and the lessons learned in the creation of adaptation plans between scientists and local society.
Diana Pascual and Eduard Pla co-published a book about adapting the Mediterranean basin to climate change13 de June 2017Verónica Couto Antelo
The book, available in English, focuses on the nature reserve shared between southern Spain and northern Morocco. In particular, it values the impacts of climate change on the availability of water from an ecological, socio-economic and political point of view.
The COP21 set the maximum temperature increase for 2100 at 1.5° C. The only scenario which would allow achievement of this goal would require vastly reducing human CO2 emissions, significantly increasing the prominence of renewable energies, and the use of some type of artificial carbon sequestration technology.
What is the future that the Mediterranean forests expect? Climate change is already strongly felt and its impacts reach everywhere. Francisco Lloret tells the current situation and how we will have to prepare ourselves and forests to the coming changes .
A large brain increases the capacity to adjust behavior to new circumstances through learning, improving resource-gathering in a changing environment. Greater understanding of this capacity can improve predictions of what species of birds and other animals will be most vulnerable to global change.
We need to understand how things work, to know how to assemble and how to disassemble them. But we have reached a point of so much specialization and mechanization that too much often we can not understand how everything works, and even more, if we will be able to fix what we have broken.
The use of the term 'resilience' has been extended. But success entails risks. When dealing with complex concepts encapsulated in a word, the risk translates into confusion. It is therefore worth entertaining the passage and meditate for a while.
The journal Nature has today published a study which had the participation of CSIC scientists at CREAF, Marc Estiarte and Josep Peñuelas, which demonstrates the relationship between the release of carbon from soils and the acceleration of climate change.
Ending perceptions of women and other disadvantaged groups simply as victims and instead empowering them as decision-makers in natural resource management are basic steps to deal with ecological crises more effectively. A new collection of studies addresses global environmental change from a feminist and interdisciplinary perspective.
CREAF researchers signal climate change and changes in land use as the principal causes. The most impacted are specialized species living in very specific habitats and those producing a number of generations in a single year.
How does water move inside a tree? CREAF researchers are helping to demystify such topics using 3D images wich reconstruct the internal structure of tree branches and trunks, and further, deepening our knowledge on the transport of water and nutrients .
In the prizes to the trajectory of a scientist, people say , the hardest is to begin, because after the first award, the winner can be pretty sure that others will come. Maybe, but there are different categories of prizes. Josep Peñuelas is starting to get the big ones, those that he deserves by his contributions to ecology, his dedication and his ability to empathize in order to establish fruitful relationships with scientists all around the world.
A study finds that high temperatures and low rainfall cause a timing mismatch between the flowering period of plants and the time of flight of butterflies. The moments of maximum florescence and butterfly abundance are separated by a mean time of 70 days, increasing in years with marked drought.
In mid-May, NASA announced the discovery of 1,284 new planets, thanks to the Kepler space telescope. Quite a lot... The globalization seems to make the Earth small and small, but the known Universe grows fast.
A new study on wildfires in California, published in the journal PLOS ONE, and with the participation of Enric Batllori, researcher from CREAF and the Catalonia Forest Technology Centre (CTFC), reveals that human activities influence the frequency and location of wildfires just as much as climate. The researchers evaluated both the 'anthropogenic factor' and climate change. This is the first time that a study of this sort has been carried out in a territory of such size (California is about 13 times the size of Catalonia).
The forest treeline shifts upward slower than temperature increase, and it can be hindered by densification of shrubs. A number of factors influence upward forest expansion, including the particular plant species growing near trees, climate change, human activity, and terrain morphology. The Tibetan Plateau, practically devoid of human pressures, offers a pristine area for study
Climate experts, botanists, geographers and ecologists from CREAF and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) will train citizens to monitor seasonal changes which can be observed in nature. This way citizens will be able to help the scientists study the effects of climate change on animals and plants. Flower emergence, the dropping of leaves, or the arrival of certain birds will be some of the changes to be studied. Once trained, citizens will be able to contribute to European and Spanish phenology observation networks.
According to a study co-led by CREAF staff published this week in the journal Nature, droughts caused by climate change could result in the death of the tallest tress in tropical forests. For the first time, the scientists have shown that after prolonged water deficit tall trees suffer embolisms in their circulatory systems and die of dehydration.
According to a study in which CREAF participated, the populations of birds or butterflies living in open habitats have been negatively affected by the loss of field and scrubland habitat. Conversely, species which live in forests have been favored. These variations were related with changes in the Catalonian (and Mediterranean) landscape over the last few decades.
According to a study in which CREAF participated, the delay of late-summer rains could change the equilibrium between males and females in these Mediterranean weevils, favoring the females. The authors have shown that male weevils are more sensitive to prolonged drought.
The response of leaf unfolding phenology to climate warming has significantly reduced in Central Europe23 de September 2015CREAF
Leaf unfolding occurred on average about 4 days earlier every one degree increase in spring temperature between 1980 and 1994, whereas this value dropped to -2.3 days C-1 between 1999 and 2013, a decrease of over 40%. According to this study recently published in the jorunal Nature with the participaction of Josep Peñuelas, researcher from CSIC at CREAF, warmer winters and photoperiod are forcing plants to control their phenology calendars.
New research finds that as climate change increases ozone levels, pollinators will have a harder timing finding plants that feed them. That’s going to be a problem for the bees that pollinate a third of the world’s food supply. Flowers and other plants rely on microscopic scent molecules to attract the bees and other pollinators that feed on them. Climate change is going to disrupt that process, mostly because of ground-level ozone, which is projected to increase over the coming decades. The study, published in the journal New Phytologist, found that flowers’ fragile scent molecules break down more quickly as they are exposed to greater levels of ozone. >> Read the full article from Takepart.com here
The lakes of El Cajas National Park, located at 4,000 metres high in Ecuador’s Azuay province, are the scene of the fieldwork carried out within the research project ECUAFLUX, an initiative to analyse the carbon cycle in the Andean basins of Ecuador and foresee the impact of climate change on natural ecosystems. Carles Gracia, CREAF researcher and UB lecturer, is one of the experts who participates in the project.
MENFRI project has been featured in an interactive presentation –“How EU Research & Innovation works for a better world supporting communication activities”, prepared for EXPO 2015, showing successful EU-funded research projects.
A study led by a CREAF-CSIC researcher has outlined a new methodology for describing changes in the life cycle of plants caused by planetary warmingwith higher precision. Daytime, rather than nocturnal temperatures determine phenological changes. The increase in temperatures, leading to an earlier spring, alters the global functioning of ecosystems.
Researchers from the UAB, CREAF and the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) have analysed how the deterioration of woods caused by droughts associated to global warming are affecting the microbial composition of the soil and modifying carbon cycles.
CREAF participated in a study which proposes that in order to understand the full impact of climate change, it is not enough to study just protected natural areas, which are mature and able to handle change; instead, it is important to focus on the study of those ecosystems which have been altered and are still recovering.
A new method developed by CREAF and the Autonomous University of Barcelona allows the automatic processing of thousands of satellite images taken by Landsat without manual intervention or the need of atmospheric data.
Mediterranean forests provide local communities with a diverse range of products such as wood, fodder for livestock and plants and game, all of which contribute to food security and help to alleviate poverty in rural regions. However, these forests will be one of the most affected ecosystems in the near future as temperatures increase and rains decrease. In order to avoid the Mediterranean region turning into a desert, expert forest management is required.
Researchers from CREAF, CSIC, and the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of Estonia have found that flowers are becoming more fragrant as the global mean temperature rises. In addition, intense heat provokes changes in the composition of floral aromas, transforming the odors of natural areas. This could lead to pollinizers mistaking the identity of flowers, especially specialist species whose flower visits are guided by their own innate olfactory preferences.
MENFRI brings together experts to cooperate towards a profitable and sustainable use of forests in the Mediterranean6 de June 2014Anna Ramon Revilla
On May 26th 2014, experts from different countries and background (industry, policymaking, science, NGOs, etc) gathered in Morocco in the framework of the project “Mediterranean Network of Forestry Research and Innovation” (MENFRI) to assess the forestry sector organization and development opportunities in Mediterranean countries.
The BeWater project launched its first series of meetings on 28 May in La Tordera, Catalonia, Spain. CREAF, the local case study leader, together with consortium partners, met key local stakeholders in order to introduce the project, hear local perspectives on the state of the river basin and discuss potential global change impacts.
A study conducted by researchers at the CREAF and the Autonomous University of Barcelona demonstrates that many pine populations of the Iberian Peninsula are in decline. The study foresees a very unfavorable scenario for some pine species with predicted climate change, which would see the pines negatively affected by both the expansion of the holm-oak, as well as an increase in drought and fire.
Nightime temperatures on the planet have increased 1.4 times faster than daytime temperatures. This asymmetry alters carbon fluxes and plant growth in the northern hemisphere, according to a study in which the CREAF is participating.
A new model of landscape evolution, developed by a group of Catalan and Canadian researchers, identifies that the ability to extinguish fire is essential in the explanation of the fire patterns in Catalan territory. The model also shows that, if current climate trends continue, the burned area could increase by more than 60% in the next 20 years.
The LIFE MEDACC project (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000536 Demonstration and validation of innovative methodology for regional climate change adaptation in the Mediterranean area) is an excellent opportunity both to make the European Commission aware of Catalonia’s advances in tackling the effects of climate change laid out in the Catalan Strategy for Adapting to Climate Change (ESCACC), and to inform research institutions and technology centres of the knowledge generated.