Absorption of carbon dioxide in the Amazon is half of what was calculated

Disturbing news comes from the study conducted by an international team of scientists who have discovered that the absorption of carbon dioxide by the plants of the Amazon forest must be reduced by about 50% compared to what was previously calculated. The difference is that the previous climate models had not considered phosphorus deficiency.

The study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows how these models can be considered “obsolete” because they are based on the belief that the amount of phosphorus, one of the main nutrients for plants, in the basement of the Amazon forest was more than sufficient.

In fact the ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest, as pointed out by Jennifer Holm, a researcher at the Berkeley Lab and one of the authors of the study, has been characterized by a great impoverishment of phosphorus over millions of years due above all to the different types of weather to which this same environment has been subjected.

The researchers came to this conclusion by monitoring tree growth and leaf development as well as root growth in a region north of Manaus, Brazil. The same researchers hope that these results can be used to more realistically represent how the Amazon can counter global climate changes underway caused by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a contrasting force much more dependent on the acquisition of phosphorus from part of the plants and evidently weaker than thought.

Ramesh Iven

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