Friday, June 21, 2013

Quick, everyone, plant more trees! CO2 is allegedly causing too many trees to grow, which is allegedly causing cheetahs to get poked in the eye

Blind, starving cheetahs: the new symbol of climate change? | Adam Welz | Environment |
Savanna ecosystems, such as those that cover much of Africa, can be seen as battlegrounds between trees and grasses, each trying to take territory from the other. The outcomes of these battles are determined by many factors including periodic fire, an integral part of African savannas.

In simple terms, fire kills small trees and therefore helps fire-resilient grasses occupy territory. Trees have to have a long-enough break from fire to grow to
a sufficient size — about four metres high — to be fireproof and establish themselves in the landscape. The faster trees grow, the more likely they are to reach four metres before the next fire.

Lab research shows that many savanna trees grow significantly faster as atmospheric CO2 rises, and a new analysis of satellite images indicates that so-called 'CO2 fertilisation' has caused a large increase in plant growth in warm, arid areas worldwide.

Although poor land management is undoubtedly partly to blame for bush encroachment, increased atmospheric CO2 seems to be upsetting many savanna ecosystems' vegetal balance of power in favour of trees and shrubs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Elephants have a thing about trees. They see one, they want to trample it to the ground and eat it. All of it. The only trees to survive are the really tall strong spiky ones for which the giraffes are thankful. This annoys the lions because they have nothing to hide behind and so we have vast herds of gnus ( yes a gnother gnu) and antelope and zebra. Elephants will survive drought, floods and anything else that nature throws at them. Unfortunately they have big long extended teeth that Chinese like to carve into trinkets and sell to stinking rich tourists.