New Study Shows Some Tropical Trees Can 'Regenerate'

A new research study discovered that tropical trees can fix themselves by capturing nitrogen from the air after being logged

According to an article from Science World Report, new research shows that some trees in tropical forests heighten their ability to capture nitrogen from the air and release it into the soil after being logged or cleared. Essentially, this can lead to the forest making a “comeback.”

Researchers studied an area of the Panama Canal watershed to reach these findings. Through looking at and measuring carbon storage, runoff and biodiversity in different types of trees in different areas (such as forest restoration plots and abandoned pastureland) they found several interesting things.

The most interesting finding was that trees that fixed nitrogen from the atmosphere put on carbon weight faster than non-fixing trees—nine times faster, to be exact. Essentially, trees can turn nitrogen fixation on (or off) depending on the level of need in the environment.

This finding is critical in the field of carbon storage in that it suggests that if trees can grow and store carbon, they could then turn into a carbon sink, possibly slowing down or halting climate change.

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