From: Science Daily
Published March 23, 2010 09:11 AM

Rapid Increases in Tree Growth Found in US

ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2010) — Researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Earthwatch met in Panama from Mar. 1-5 to present mid-term research results from the HSBC Climate Partnership, a five-year initiative to identify and respond to the impacts of climate change. The program is supported financially by HSBC and involves a global team of bank employees -- 'climate champions' -- in vital forest research.

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The first-ever research program of its kind has so far:

* Found rapid increases in tree growth in the forest around the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Maryland, USA, a finding attributed to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and longer growing seasons, published in PNAS. * Proposed a novel biodiversity theory relating stress and seed-size published in PNAS.

* Examined the effects a changing climate in forests is having on white-tailed deer, mice and even mosquitoes.

* Addressed the lack of a reliable method for estimating the carbon storage capability of secondary forests on a landscape scale by assessing how measurements from airborne LiDAR and other remote sensing technologies relate to ground-based measurements.

* Reviewed how human disturbance changes the way forests take up carbon in diverse environments.

Researchers working in broadleaf forest plots near Oxford, England, Atlantic rainforests in Southern Brazil and subtropical forests near Gutianshan Nature Reserve in China, as well as the SERC site in Maryland, have been putting HSBC employees to work. At Oxford, for example, data collected indicates that changes in forest structure have impacted moth populations.

Stuart Davies, director of the Smithsonian's Center for Tropical Forest Science, says, "We know that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has shot up from 280 to 385 parts per million since the 1850's as a result of human activities like the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. The degree to which atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase depends, in part, on how trees respond to climate and atmospheric change -- whether forests end up storing more or less carbon. This is what the HSBC Climate Partnership research is trying to establish."

Article continues: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318132500.htm

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