Climate change is making forests all over the world more vulnerable to drought, causing tree mortality episodes with serious ecological and social consequences. As yet, the traits of the vegetation replacing trees that have died as a result of drought are not known.
Published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), a study to which the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and CREAF have contributed has revealed that the time for which forests retain carbon has fallen by between 0.2% and 0.3% every year in recent decades. Plant mortality is rising due to higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and, in particular, warming and droughts. The time in question, which is termed carbon turnover time, is a relevant factor in climate change projections as it is indicative of carbon sinks’ capacity to retain carbon.
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.
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.
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.
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