23
Fri, Feb

Meadows Beat Out Shrubs When it Comes to Carbon Storage

Typography

Excess carbon dioxide, emitted by burning fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, is one of the most important factors in driving global warming. While the world is focused on controlling these emissions to limit climate change, less attention has been paid to the capacity of vegetation and soils to take up and store carbon.

Excess carbon dioxide, emitted by burning fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, is one of the most important factors in driving global warming. While the world is focused on controlling these emissions to limit climate change, less attention has been paid to the capacity of vegetation and soils to take up and store carbon.

One of the most popular approaches to carbon storage is protecting tropical rainforests. If a rainforest is cut down, the carbon stored in the trunks and leaves will be released to the atmosphere. But plants in alpine communities in Norway also have a role to play in storing — or releasing — carbon dioxide.

“We don’t think about how much carbon is actually stored right in our own backyard,” says Mia Vedel Sørensen, a PhD candidate at NTNU’s Department of Biology who is studying carbon storage in shrub vegetation in the Dovre mountains, in mid-Norway.

Read more at Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Image: Norway's high-latitude alpine areas are seeing an increase in the areas being overtaken by shrubs. Researchers wanted to know what that means for carbon cycling in the region. (Credit: Mia Vedel Sørensen)