The iconic Australian tea tree (Melaleuca decora) is more vulnerable than native eucalypt species to extreme temperature and moisture stress, Western Sydney University researcher Anne Griebel has discovered.
To make the finding, Anne and colleagues fitted instruments that measure the exchange of carbon, water and heat at 10 times a second to an extendable mast on a trailer deployed in a critically endangered woodland in Western Sydney.
Why is a banana leaf a million times bigger than a common heather leaf? Why are leaves generally much larger in tropical jungles than in temperate forests and deserts? The textbooks say it’s a balance between water availability and overheating.
But it’s not that simple.
A global team of researchers, led by Associate Professor Ian Wright from Macquarie University, revealed that in much of the world the key limiting factor for leaf size is night temperature and the risk of frost damage to leaves.
Twenty hectares of old, abandoned fish ponds have been rehabilitated into mangrove forests in Tiwoho, in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi.
Their efficiency in capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere is being put to the test by researchers, in the hopes the rehabilitation process can help mitigate the effects of climate change and restore the provision of ecosystem services, such as fisheries, provided by healthy mangroves.
Evidence is building to suggest that our forests may not be the climate change ‘get out jail free’ card we all want.
Australian Rivers Institute’s Assoc. Prof. Peter Pollard has researched rainforest lakes and rivers to test a provocative theory. The respiration of bacteria living and ‘breathing’ in these freshwater ecosystems is a major pathway for the return of rainforest carbon back to the atmosphere as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.