Home Global warming Climate change may upset the delicate balance of the world’s best carbon sink, study finds

Climate change may upset the delicate balance of the world’s best carbon sink, study finds

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The second largest mangrove forest in the world at Pichavaram near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu

Photo: iStock

New research has shown that carbon stored from atmospheric carbon dioxide can be processed by organisms. The study, published Thursday by the University of Portsmouth and facilitated by research organization Operation Wallacea, suggests that climate change may have a significant impact on the “blue carbon” system, which refers to the carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems of the world.

How the study has been conducted

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth have analyzed large woody debris (LWD) found in four mangrove forests in Indonesia’s Wakatobi National Park. These four mangroves each had different intertidal zones, which are the area of ​​land below water at high tide and the area above water at low tide. Each survey area had up to eight sections that revealed their own way of dealing with carbon.

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In the higher parts of the ecosystem that were closer to land, the research team found organisms typically found in tropical rainforests decomposing fallen wood. Organisms included fungi, beetle larvae and termites. In the land more toward the ocean, large woody debris was degraded faster by seaworms, which are worm-like clams with calcium carbonate shells.

climate change is affecting the mangroves”>How does climate change is affecting mangroves

Climate change has the potential to disrupt the delicate process of fixed carbon degradation in mangrove forests. First, climate change has caused sea levels to rise, which impacts the carbon cycle as it is driven by rising tides. Second, climate change has led to an increase in ocean acidification, which is caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This can dissolve the shells of wood-degrading marine organisms in lower parts of the earth.

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“These data highlight the delicate balance between biodegrading organisms in wood and fallen mangrove wood. Mangrove forests are essential for mitigating climate change, and changes in the decomposition of fallen wood in forests will alter the cycles above-ground carbon, which may have an effect on the carbon stores of mangroves,” said lead author Dr. Ian Hendy, a study from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth.

How does this initiative will be further develop

Dr. Hendy and his team now plan to participate in a large-scale mangrove restoration project in Mexico. This joint biodiversity initiative known as rePLANET is working with a group of scientists in Portsmouth, Brighton, Singapore and Mexico to be able to fund a series of doctoral research projects examining innovative approaches being taken to preserve and protect forests.

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“The team’s goal now is to use the results of this study to guide the large-scale restoration of mangrove forests around the world,” added Dr. Simon Cragg, co-author of the study. the University of Portsmouth.

Why carbon sinks are important

Most of the emissions emitted, ranging from forest fires to smoldering industrial smokestacks, remain in the atmosphere. Many of these emissions release carbon, and when carbon in the environment increases, so does the temperature of the earth.

Carbon sinks are essential for the survival of the ecosystem because they help to absorb a large part of these emissions in the atmosphere. Whether these carbon sinks are soil, oceans or vegetation, these natural storage solutions slow climate change far more effectively than any human-made technology developed to combat the climate crisis.

However, with more and more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, it becomes increasingly difficult for carbon sinks to maintain the correct balance of emissions and gases in the atmosphere.

“Typically, CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere are absorbed by land and ocean, and some of it could accumulate in the atmosphere. Today we are releasing CO2 beyond the planet’s cleaning capacity. As a result, the accumulation in the atmosphere has become excessive and this is known as the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and which causes global warming,” said Avantika Goswami, deputy program manager on climate change at the Center for Science and the Environment (CSE), said.
Using less fossil fuels and reducing emissions is considered one of the most effective ways to prevent climate change from affecting carbon sinks.