Florian Hofhansl

Tropical Ecosystem Research

Amazon forest response to CO2 fertilization dependent on plant phosphorus acquisition

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New study published in Nature Geoscience reports first modelling results from the exciting CO2-fertilisation experiment conducted in the middle of the Amazon

Current climate models suggest that trees will continue to remove manmade greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, making it possible to stay within the targets set by the Paris Agreement. A study led by an international team of scientists however indicates that this uptake capacity could be strongly limited by soil phosphorus availability. The authors note that how the ecosystem reacts – whether trees will be capable of getting additional phosphorus from the soil through enzymatic processes or by forming more roots and symbiotic interactions that can provide scarce nutrients – must be further investigated. One thing is however certain, tropical rainforests are not an infinite CO2 sink and the Amazon forest reservoir must be preserved. This comes in line with response to rising international criticism over a surge in forest clearing since the beginning of the year, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and officials in his administration have recently stepped up attacks on scientists at the country’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) for continuing to report transparently on deforestation in the Amazon.

Check out the press release and media attention for the article published in Nature Geoscience, August 2019.

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