We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

Soils may help limit climate change by storing more carbon when temperatures rise, according to new research.

J M Melillo from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, United States, and colleagues mimicked the effect global warming will have underground by burying electric heating cables, in a ten-year study.

They report in this week's issue of Science that, in the short-term, soil warming causes an increase in the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, by accelerating the decay of organic matter.

But as time goes on it also increases the availability of mineral nitrogen to plants, promoting tree growth. For mid-latitude forests, where growth is determined chiefly by the amount of nitrogen available, warming may stimulate carbon storage, slowing the rate of future climate change, the authors say.

© SciDev.Net 2002

Link to Science research paper by J.M. Melillo et al