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Global warming on the forest floor

[ Kentucky ] Along with rising temperatures, global warming is very likely to cause a shift toward more extreme weather — stronger storms with more rainfall, and longer and more severe droughts. Those changes are likely to have large-scale, obvious effects on farmlands, grasslands and forests and on the creatures that inhabit them. But many smaller, more subtle effects are likely too. Researchers at the University of Kentucky looked at one: the impact of climate change on the decomposition of leaf litter on the forest floor. They set up forest plots and manipulated precipitation to match anticipated future levels, both wet and dry. They didn’t see much change in leaf decomposition under higher-rainfall conditions. But under drought conditions, they found, decay accelerated significantly.

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes
www.southernsustainableforests.org

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