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Forest study in China finds mix of trees can absorb twice as much carbon as areas with one species

By Alice Shen

Research shows greater diversity leads to more greenhouse gas absorption

Forests with a diverse mix of trees can absorb more than twice as much carbon as areas with just a single species, research carried out in eastern China has found – a discovery that could help in the fight against climate change.

More than 150,000 trees were planted on a hillside in Jiangxi province in 2009 for the study. Over eight years, researchers found that an average of 32 tonnes of carbon was absorbed per hectare in the above-ground biomass – or living organisms – of the species-rich forest, according to the results published in Science on Friday. Single-species forests, in contrast, captured an average of 12 tonnes of carbon per hectare.

The experiment near Xingangshan, was the first involving a large cultivated forest to find out whether a greater diversity of tree species leads to increased greenhouse gas absorption, a process that can help to mitigate climate change.

More than 60 scientists from China, Switzerland and Germany were involved in the research, testing a hypothesis based on observations in the field.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018