Infected trees can become a new source of greenhouse gases Facts
According to a study at Yale School of Forestry, infected trees in the woods can be a significant source of methane — a greenhouse gas that affects climate change. 60 trees studied at Yale Forest in northeastern Connecticut in methane concentration in 80 000 times higher than normal. The normal concentration of methane in the atmosphere is 0.0002%, but Yale researchers found that the concentration of infected trees averaged 1.5%.
The head of the research group, Christopher Covey stressed that such a concentration of methane is flammable. Since the conditions that promote the development of methane in the trees, are common in forests in different parts of the planet, scientists believe they have found a new source of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Calculations have shown that methane emissions per hectare of forest per year at Yale roughly equivalent burning 180 liters of gasoline. Allocations of greenhouse gas accounts for about 20% of the amount absorbed by the same amount of forest carbon. Co-author of the study adds that the extrapolation of the results of research on all the forests, the amount of methane emissions from diseased trees to be about 10% of global emissions.
Trees that produce methane, mostly old (age 80-100 years), and are usually sick. Although outwardly they look healthy, the trees affected by a fungus that slowly eats away at the trunk, creating favorable conditions for the development of methanogenic microorganisms. Red maple is widespread in North America, has the highest concentration of methane, but also other kinds of trees, including oak, birch, pine, produce methane. The rate of production of methane in the summer is 3 times higher than in winter. This means that high temperatures accelerate the production of methane, which in turn further increases the temperature.