How forests smell: Investigating how biodiversity affects the atmosphere

By Katarina Werneburg, Leipzig University
December 13, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Plants emit odors for a variety of reasons, such as to communicate with one another, to deter herbivores or to respond to changing environmental conditions. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Leipzig University and the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research carried out a study to investigate how biodiversity influences the emission of these substances. For the first time, the researchers were able to show that species-rich forests emit less of these gases into the atmosphere than monocultures. The findings are published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. …Previously, it was thought that species-rich forests released more gases into the atmosphere than species-poor ones… because they can utilize resources such as light, water and nutrients more efficiently. …”Our new results, however, suggest that the situation may be due to the fact that plants in species-rich forests and grasslands are under less stress.

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