April 25, 2015
North American Boreal Forest Productivity Drop With Biodiversity Loss

Lower plant biodiversity cuts tree productivity in the boreal forest that spans across Alaska and Canada.

Empirical evidence from Alaska's boreal forest suggests that every 1 percent reduction in overall plant diversity could render an average of .23 percent decline in individual tree productivity.

alaska_boreal_forest.jpg

I've previously argued that boreal forests could be selectively harvested to sink carbon underwater so that new forest growth to replace the falled trees could pull more carbon out of the atmosphere. This would need to be done in a way that did not impact forest productivity.

The boreal forest of Canada and Alaska is the world's largest remaining intact forest ecosystem. If it deterioriates then it'll release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. So I pay attention to research on its health and productivity. Lost biodiversity was shown to cut ecosystem productivity in areas of the Canadian boreal forest that were partially developed by humans.

"The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems," said lead author Jingjing Liang, a forest ecologist from West Virginia University.

Mining, deforesting, and the like decrease forest biodiversity.

When the amount of disturbed land in a study area began to exceed 50 per cent disturbed a threshold was reached and the researchers found fewer and fewer plant species. "We found that when more than half of an area was visibly changed by human use, the number of native boreal plant species began to decrease," Mayor said.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2015 April 25 02:59 PM 


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