Fascinating research on the extent and sharing of tree roots
We did not detect a difference between species in the volume of soil reached by roots. We also found roots extending more than 20 meters (60 feet) away from the tree trunk.”
The six trees in the experiment, Anacardium excelsum (Espave in Spanish), Cedrela odorata, Dalbergia retusa (Cocobolo), Pachira quinata (Cedro Espino), Tabebuia rosea (Roble) and a (Amarillo), all have high timber value and are commonly used for reforestation in Panama.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, we found root systems to be every bit as diverse as the crowns of trees, a morphological diversity that is important to understand as it suggests a more thorough exploitation of belowground resources,” said Hall. “Interestingly, we also found that two of the forty trees (5 percent) we excavated (a Terminalia Amazonia and a Pachira quinata) were connected with neighboring species via grafts of coarse roots.
Are these trees sharing resources? Would we have found a higher percentage of root grafts if we would have had the ability to look at fine roots? Clearly there is more work to be done.”Katherine Sinacore, Jefferson Scott Hall, Catherine Potvin, Alejandro A. Royo, Mark J. Ducey, Mark S. Ashton. Unearthing the hidden world of roots: Root biomass and architecture differ among species within the same guild. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (10): e0185934 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185934
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. “Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171012151757.htm>.
Reforestation is a big climate change solution. It can be difficult, but sometimes it is surprising easy, as we reported recently in an experiment in Costa Rica.
PNAS: Natural Climate Solutions – This research says that restoration of natural areas and forests could contribute a third of what we need to stabilize the climate, if we act fast!
Most nations recently agreed to hold global average temperature rise to well below 2 °C. We examine how much climate mitigation nature can contribute to this goal with a comprehensive analysis of “natural climate solutions” (NCS): 20 conservation, restoration, and/or improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. We show that NCS can provide over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilize warming to below 2 °C. Alongside aggressive fossil fuel emissions reductions, NCS offer a powerful set of options for nations to deliver on the Paris Climate Agreement while improving soil productivity, cleaning our air and water, and maintaining biodiversity.
Better stewardship of land is needed to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goal of holding warming to below 2 °C; however, confusion persists about the specific set of land stewardship options available and their mitigation potential. To address this, we identify and quantify “natural climate solutions” (NCS): 20 conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. We find that the maximum potential of NCS—when constrained by food security, fiber security, and biodiversity conservation—is 23.8 petagrams of CO2 equivalent (PgCO2e) y−1 (95% CI 20.3–37.4). This is ≥30% higher than prior estimates, which did not include the full range of options and safeguards considered here. About half of this maximum (11.3 PgCO2e y−1) represents cost-effective climate mitigation, assuming the social cost of CO2 pollution is ≥100 USD MgCO2e−1 by 2030. Natural climate solutions can provide 37% of cost-effective CO2 mitigation needed through 2030 for a >66% chance of holding warming to below 2 °C. One-third of this cost-effective NCS mitigation can be delivered at or below 10 USD MgCO2−1. Most NCS actions—if effectively implemented—also offer water filtration, flood buffering, soil health, biodiversity habitat, and enhanced climate resilience. Work remains to better constrain uncertainty of NCS mitigation estimates. Nevertheless, existing knowledge reported here provides a robust basis for immediate global action to improve ecosystem stewardship as a major solution to climate change.