20 Apr '17, 10am

What happens when you gently toast a rainforest....for science?

What happens when you gently toast a rainforest....for science?

The world’s rainforests absorb 30 percent of human-produced carbon dioxide. Plants take up the CO2 through photosynthesis and release it through their leaves, stems, and roots via respiration. Researchers use scientific models to predict how carbon absorption will change with rising temperatures, but it’s not easy to know because such temperature hikes have never happened in human history. Global climate change is, after all, unprecedented. That’s why, in the first study of its kind, a team of researchers led by Tana Wood from the USDA Forest Service and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry is manually heating up El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico by 7°F, a number that scientists think could realistically happen in the next century. The goal is to see if photosynthesis will slow. “It may have a temperature threshold,” says Wood. Researchers are looking at...

Full article: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/researchers-set-rainfore...

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