USGS Scientists Uproot Long-held Beliefs about Trees

February 4, 2014
By

 A long-held belief about old trees has been uprooted. A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey finds that trees' growth rates do not slow as they get older and larger – instead, they keep putting on mass along with their years. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith

A long-held belief about old trees has been uprooted. A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey finds that trees’ growth rates do not slow as they get older and larger – instead, they keep putting on mass along with their years. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith

A long-held belief about old trees has been uprooted. A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey finds that trees’ growth rates do not slow as they get older and larger. Instead, they keep putting on mass along with their years.

According to the study’s lead author, Nate Stephenson, a forest ecologist with the USGS, if people did the same, we’d weigh well over a ton by retirement. For trees, the finding changes what we know about how they store carbon, and has implications for forest management.

“About for every pound of mass a tree puts on, it’s absorbing and sequestering about a half-pound of carbon,” he said, and added that old, large trees are better at storing and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

Stephenson pointed out that the rapid absorption rates mean old trees are the star players within forest carbon dynamics. And that’s also of interest in terms of the changing climate.

“Change is going to happen no matter what, and if we want to project how forests are going to respond to that, we really have to get some of these key pieces right.”

Trees around the world were studied for the report, more than 600,000 of them from 400 species, on six continents.

 

Listen Live

Upcoming Events

Sep
1
Mon
11:00 am 97th Annual St. Anthony’s Labor ... @ St. Anthony Catholic Church
97th Annual St. Anthony’s Labor ... @ St. Anthony Catholic Church
Sep 1 @ 11:00 am – 4:30 pm
Ripley County, Indiana       2014 Events & Festivals Serving chicken or roast beef dinners.  Crafts, entertainment, quilts, raffles, and games at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 4773 Church Rd, Morris.  11am to 4:30pm.   No adm. chg.  St. Anthony’s Church  (812) 934-6218.
Sep
2
Tue
7:00 am MEETING Daughters of Isabella Al... @ Knights of Columbus in Batesville
MEETING Daughters of Isabella Al... @ Knights of Columbus in Batesville
Sep 2 @ 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
 New members are welcome to come.
10:45 am Adult Basic Education (for the H...
Adult Basic Education (for the H...
Sep 2 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am
Brookville: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-2pm at the Government Center Room 102 and 5pm-9pm Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Education Education Center (Above Dr. Bentz Dental Office across from Mainsource Bank)   Laurel Library: Mondays and Wednesdays 11am – 2pm   Call or text for details 765-309-2001

View Calendar