A letter published yesterday in Nature reports researchers have found that the biggest trees grow faster and hold more carbon as they get older. These results challenge an older notion that large, mature trees are unproductive. One of the researchers cites the importance of long term, large scale data collection to studies such as this one:
In a letter published today in the journal Nature, an international research group reports that 97 percent of 403 tropical and temperate species grow more quickly the older they get. The study was led by Nate L. Stephenson of the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center. Three Oregon State University researchers are co-authors: Mark Harmon and Rob Pabst of the College of Forestry and Duncan Thomas of the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The researchers reviewed records from studies on six continents. Their conclusions are based on repeated measurements of 673,046 individual trees, some going back more than 80 years.
This study would not have been possible, Harmon said, without long-term records of individual tree growth. "It was remarkable how we were able to examine this question on a global level, thanks to the sustained efforts of many programs and individuals."
Read the whole article at www.sciencedaily.com