"Nitrogen fixing trees will help to quicken the pace of reforestation"

Nitrogen fixing trees will help to quicken the pace of reforestation

It is a common practice in many third world countries to burn down forests and then use the tract of land which has been cleared for agriculture. But is it possible to reforest the tract after the agricultural land has been abandoned after the nutrients of the soil has been dried up? Well yes and it is the trees which will be doing it. Researchers have discovered that trees can switch on their ability to fix Nitrogen from the atmosphere with a little help from the Rhizobium bacteria.  This finding has a huge implication on the ongoing projects of reforestation on denuded lands. It will also have a huge impact on the global warming.

A study was carried out on a square mile area of the Panama Canal watershed where the forest was recovering after clearing activities. Different land use options were studied and the carbon storage, runoff and biodiversity were carefully monitored. A comparison was made between mature tropical forests, native trees in forest restoration plots and abandoned pastureland.

"Nitrogen fixing trees will help to quicken the pace of reforestation"

Nitrogen fixing trees will help to quicken the pace of reforestation

Jefferson Hall, one of the researchers, said, “This is the first solid case showing how nitrogen fixation by tropical trees directly affects the rate of carbon recovery after agricultural fields are abandoned. Trees turn nitrogen fixation on and off according to the need for nitrogen in the system.”

It was observed that trees which were able to fix the atmospheric nitrogen were also able to add carbon nine times quicker than ordinary trees. In fact Nitrogen fixing trees were able to add 50,000 kilograms of carbon per hectare during the first 12 years of growth.

Tropical forests act as carbon sinks drawing away carbon from the air. As the scourge of the Global warming increases it is important that freed land which has been denuded by industrial or agricultural use be quickly repaired and reforested. Nitrogen fixing trees will help to quicken the pace of reforestation.

 

Sana Khan

About Sana Khan

Born and brought up in Pakistan, Sana has settled in Baltimore. Sana came to pursue her Masters in Economics but was keen on journalism. Her talent was recognized by our editor Hazel and soon she became one of our leading reporters from the world of Economics.

  • Boyd Clover

    The same thing is done here in the US bulldoze and burn. Destroying forests just to put a steak or burger on your plate, Sad!!

  • ReduceGHGs

    Reforestation has long been part of the solution to climate change but reducing emissions must be the main focus. Contact your reps in Congress. Insist they work harder to reduce global emission. If they make excuses or deny there’s a problem, help get them removed in the next election. Our future generations are at risk. Read what the experts a NASA, NAS, AAAS, and others have to say. Business as usual is dangerous.