Is dead wood in forests a source of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere? at Københavns Universitet

In Danish forests more and more dead wood are left on the forest floor as a means to foster increased biodiversity and function as a transient carbon storage. The dead biomass, standing or on the ground, will be immediately attacked by decomposers seeking to utilize the carbon and nutrients stored in the biomass. This will inevitably lead to some of the carbon being transformed to CO2 or even perhaps CH4, a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. Dead wood can also act as water sponges in the forest and thus be quite humid. It has been shown that the dead wood can produce sizeable amounts of CH4 if it is also wet. It is still unclear if dead wood at all is a significant source of CO2 and CH4 and which processes act to partition between one or the other gas. We are seeking students interested in studying the decomposition dynamics of dead wood with a focus on the production CO2 and CH4.

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