Researchers at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies have discovered that diseased trees may be a significant cause of global warming. The university’s researchers tested the trees at the Yale Myers Forest near their campus in Connecticut and discovered that rotting trees release a significant amount of methane gas, a highly flammable type of natural gas that can cause climate change in large quantities. The trees at the Yale Myers Forest produce emissions that are equivalent to burning 40 gallons of gas per acre of forest per year.
In their academic report on this matter, “Elevated Methane Concentrations in Trees of an Upland Forest,” the Yale University research team noted that trees that release methane gas look just like ordinary trees on the outside. However, on the inside, they’re being eaten alive by fungus. And the fungus that rots these trees helps fuel methane production because it makes the trees a hospitable breeding ground for methanogens, tiny organisms that create methane.
The researchers, who are primarily Yale University doctoral candidates and their research advisors, believe that all the rotting trees in all the forests in the world could be producing approximately 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. If diseased trees are truly a part of the tremendous problem of global warming, it will be essential that scientists figure out how to prevent methane-friendly fungus from growing in trees.
As of now, it’s impossible to prove that rotting trees are truly the cause of 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The Yale researchers were only able to study the 7,480 acres of trees at the Yale Myers Forest. According to their report, however, the fungus that they found growing inside their trees is very common throughout the world. In fact, the fungus can wreak havoc on just about any kind of tree.
This new research about diseased trees and methane production is the first of its kind. The Yale researchers have discovered something that could be potentially groundbreaking. We can only hope that additional teams of scientists and researchers will explore the effects rotting trees and other plants have on global warming. The earth is only going to become hotter and more inhospitable over time, unless we figure out ways to significantly cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Kudos to the Yale University team for making this discovery!
– By Angelita Williams
A freelance blogger with a strong work ethic, Angelita Williams lives for scooping the next big story. Among her preferred topics of writing are online learning, distance courses, and the growing trend of mobile education. If you have any comments or questions, you can reach Angelita at firstname.lastname@example.org.