Tropical forests adjust strategies to thrive even when soils are nutrient poor, large field experiment shows

By Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Tropical forests store a third of the world’s carbon in their wood and soils. However, their future as a carbon sink has been uncertain. Scientists have long wondered whether nutrient-poor tropical soils would limit the ability of mature and recovering forests to thrive. A study published in New Phytologist offers a hopeful response, suggesting that forests have flexible strategies that help them overcome the challenge of scarce nutrients. “We may not have to worry about it so much,” concluded senior author Sarah Batterman, a tropical forest ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. “Because of these flexible strategies, trees may be able to support a carbon sink in the future, even with nutrient constraints. Our findings support the potential of tropical reforestation and conserving intact forests as a long-term climate solution.” …Forests of different ages responded differently to the nutrient additions, showing that “trees are actively responding to their nutrient environment,” said Wong.

Read More