Researchers find Woody Vines in Tropical Forests accelerating Climate Change

Researchers at Marquette University found that woody vines in tropical forests are preventing forests from storing carbon. Study by the researchers also suggested that these woody vines are possibly accelerating climate change.

The study has found that the presence of wooden vines known as lianas is decreasing the amount of carbon by tropical forests. In the presence of lianas, the amount of carbon absorbed by Panama’s tropical forest decreased by more than 70% per year, according to the study. It also predicted that the woody vines will reduce carbon storage in tropical forests by about 35% in next five decades.

Tropical forests are known for storing large amount of carbon. Due to their ability to store harmful carbon, tropical forests play an important role in global carbon cycle. Stefan Schnitzer, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and co-author of the study, said the study has provided important information. Lianas’ presence in tropical forests could affect the way carbon is stored in trees.

The study was conducted by Schnitzer, a biology professor at Marquette University, Geertje van der Heijden, co-author the study, and Jennifer Powers, a professor at the University of Minnesota, in the Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Panama.

Author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said, “Increases in liana density may be partially responsible for the long term decline in the Amazonian carbon sink, which in term contributes to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels and accelerated climate change”.

“They provide a wide range of resources for wildlife, such as fruits, seeds and fresh leaves,” Schnitzer said. “By connecting trees together, lianas provide aerial pathways that are used by the vast majority of arboreal animals to move through the forest.”

“This study has far-reaching ramifications,” Stefan Schnitzer, a biology professor at Marquette University, said in a statement.

“Lianas contribute only a small fraction of the biomass in tropical forests, but their effects on trees dramatically alter how carbon is accumulated and stored.”