Bush Administration chops at NC forest research

How rainfall and fertility affect how much carbon a forest will store long-term — essential to understanding how forests may soften the blow of climate change. is the ultimate questionresearchers at Duke University want to answer.400px-lake-jocassee-from-outpost

For the past 10 years the US government  research project  has been pumping elevated levels of carbon dioxide into small groups of trees to test how forests will respond to global warming in the next 50 years.

If given a couple more years researchers collect the data key to answering these important queations from the time-consuming experiments.

But the U.S. Department of Energy has told the scientists to chop down the trees, collect the data and move on to new research.

Why must you cut trees down anyway ???-Mother Nature

Ronald Neilson, a U.S. Forest Service bio-climatologist in Corvallis, Ore., said the experiments should continue because they still have potential to answer key questions about how rainfall and fertility affect how much carbon a forest will store long-term — essential to understanding how forests may soften the blow of climate change.

The research program, Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE), consists of rings of tall white plastic pipes with holes along their length that emit once-liquified carbon dioxide in carefully metered doses. The loblolly pines planted in 1994 at Duke in North Carolina are located behind gates several miles from campus.

There are also experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Harshaw Experimental Forest in Wisconsin. The carbon dioxide levels around the trees are about 50 percent higher than current levels — the amount expected 40 to 50 years from now.

Results so far indicate that elevated levels of carbon dioxide make forests grow more quickly, said Ram Oren, associate professor of ecology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and principal investigator on the experiments there.

But unless forests are on fertile ground — hard to come by because of development — growth will be in leaves, needles, and fine roots, which die off and decompose in a year or two, releasing the carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, Oren said.

The Duke experiment recently began looking at fertility, and a couple of more years will give them better data on how forests react differently to drought and plentiful rainfall, he said.

“To stop an experiment that cost $55 million, $10 million before it reaches its real conclusion makes no sense to me,” Oren said.

Gov’t wants to change course of forest experiments –  JEFF BARNARD, A P   Nov 11, 2008

http://face.env.duke.edu/main.cfm
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081111/ap_on_sc/climate_forests;_ylt=AnkHVTaYuGIvEyvSZqrN5bIPLBIF

image courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Lake-Jocassee-from-Outpost.jpg/400px-Lake-Jocassee-from-Outpost.jpg

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1 Comment

  1. November 12, 2008 at 12:36 am

    […] The research program, Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE), consists of rings of tall white plastic pipes with holes along their length that emit once-liquified carbon dioxide in carefully metered doses. The loblolly pines planted in 1994 at … More […]


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