Tagged: carbon sequestration


wheat field

Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration in Soils: Can Phytoliths Help?

In October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report on the feasibility of us keeping under the 1.5°C target suggested by the United Nations at the Paris climate change meeting in 2015. The IPCC gave the world around 12 years to radically cut carbon emissions or we will face very serious climate disruption. However, they were not only interested in cutting the burning of fossil fuels, but also in “negative emissions”, how we can take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Plants and soils are huge carbon stores and are getting a lot of attention as...

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‘Mobile’ green façade system used to alter temperature on the southern wall (northern hemisphere) of a single-storey building (diagram shows wall and façade from above).

Green infrastructure and ecosystem services – is the devil in the detail? (Viewpoint)

Urban green infrastructure provides a range of ecosystem services to human society. But how much does plant choice matter in the delivery of these services? Paradoxically, much of the literature on green infrastructure rarely mentions the importance of plant selection in urban development planning schemes. Cameron and Blanusa discuss how selection according to plant genotypes makes a significant difference to how well a specific ecosystem service is delivered. They cite examples to illustrate how plant choice strongly influences services linked to city cooling, flood mitigation, air quality, urban biodiversity and even human well-being within the urban environment. This research on...

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Image: Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany/Wikimedia Commons.

That sinking feeling…

Whilst forests – aided and abetted by cryptogams (see my previous post) – have a major role as biotic carbon sinks on land, in the oceans that role is largely down to the activity of cryptogamous phytoplankton, which ‘draw-down’ vast amounts of CO2 during photosynthesis. However – and unlike trees – much of that aquatic primary productivity is consumed by herbivores, which in turn are preyed upon by various levels of carnivores. Ultimately, a lot of the CO2 that is fixed is released quite soon thereafter in respiration. Which is why attempts to consign such fixed carbon that is retained...

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