Quiet with­drawal

Trees have slowed their pace of ab­sorb­ing car­bon diox­ide

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE -

FORESTS PLAY an im­por­tant role in stem­ming global warm­ing by ab­sorb­ing car­bon diox­ide—the most abun­dant green­house gas—from the at­mos­phere. But a study says that trees have slowed their re­sponse to a warm­ing cli­mate. The trees were slow­ing down the process of sprout­ing leaves. The slow­down sug­gests a cur­rent and pos­si­ble fu­ture weak­en­ing of forests' car­bon up­take due to the de­clin­ing tem­per­a­ture sen­si­tiv­ity of trees. The re­searchers found that the trees' re­sponse (to ear­lier spring) had de­clined over the past three decades, and strong win­ter warm­ing may fur­ther re­duce it. The au­thors be­lieve the trees may be try­ing to pro­tect them­selves against cold weather. Na­ture, Septem­ber 23


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