At this time of year, deciduous trees across Europe are losing the last of their leaves. When will they come into leaf again? A study just published in Nature Communications has shown that while year-to-year leafing date variations can be explained by heat accumulation, local climate is a key factor in geographical variations.
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.
An international team of researchers co-led by Josep Peñuelas (CSIC and CREAF) has developed a new method for monitoring changes in the photosynthetic activity of perennial conifers throughout the year. This new technique, based on the analysis of remote sensing images captured by satellites, will improve global models of atmospheric carbon capture and permit more precise predictions about climate change.
Since 1982, Earth has become greener in an area covering 36 million km2, close to two times the size of the United States. Above all, this seems to be the result of a fertilizing effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on plants. The study was carried out with satellite images which can capture this increase in terrestrial leaf area.