Semi-arid ecosystems key areas in carbon cycling
Anders Ahlstöm and Ben Smith, together with colleagues, has a new publication in Science; "The dominant role of semi-arid ecosystems in the trend and variability of the land CO2 sink". The findings from the international study may be surprising - the semi-arid ecosystems such as savannahs and shrublands, play a vital role in the global carbon cycling.
Rainforests are still absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they are more productive, but they are already crowded and not increasing their photosynthesis much. Ahlströms study shows that the semi-arid ecosystems actually dominate the variations between the wet and dry years, as well as the increase of carbon uptake by terrestrial areas. The findings are of great importance for land conservation and climate policy decisions.