Forest Fertilization May be Beneficial

Professors and researchers are studying how fertilization of forests can increase productivity and carbon sequestration as part of the Pine Integrated Network Education, Mitigation and Adaptation Project (PineMap).

Fertilizing yards and crops are a common practice, and make one wonder what would happen to forests if they were fertilized. Researchers working on the Pine Integrated Network Education, Mitigation and Adaptation Project (PineMap) intend to find out the answer. Assistant Professor of forest ecosystem science at Texas A&M University, Dr. Jason Vogel, and several other professors and researchers are studying forests to see how fertilization may increase productivity and overall health of those forests.

The entire project is trying to prepare southern pine forest owners for potential climate change, Vogel said. The region in the study is from North Carolina to Oklahoma and Texas, plus everything south. The climate is expected to be warmer, which could induce drought stress on trees. In the southeastern U.S., forests are responsible for 5.5 percent of all the jobs and 7.5 percent of industrial output, he said.

Vogel's primary interest is in the below-ground processes of a forest; he wants to discover how much root mass the trees carry and how soil organisms respond to fertilization and climate. The larger goal is to find the best management scheme that maximizes a forest landowner's investment in a sustainable way.

“Trees are estimated to take up about 13 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from a region. If they are fertilized, thus growing bigger faster, they can store more carbon in their tissue and in the soil beneath them,” Vogel said.

Through a modeling component of the combined study, Vogel will take what his study finds about the below-ground life of a forest and add it to the other researchers' findings. Part of the project is aimed at letting the smaller landowners with managed forest land know what changes they might make to improve their forest's productivity and resistance to change in climate.

Decisions by small landowners are critical because it is estimated that 65 percent of the forests in Texas are owned by small landowners. The PineMap study will give them the tools needed to help make decisions on the best future avenues to take.

Download Center

  • Waste Management in 2021: Accelerate Your Success with Technology

    Join waste management experts on February 23rd for a live best practice session webinar. You’ll learn how to take your waste program to the next level with visual location, barcoding, and mobility. Register now.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Reserve your copy of the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get a detailed, fact-based comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • Industry Safe