Plants are known to not only remove CO2 from the atmosphere but to also emit thousands of compounds, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), whose role in climate change has largely been “overlooked.” Now, researchers from the Department of Environmental Science will launch a new research project into the role of VOC emissions in climate change.
“With this project we want to address the overlooked connection between climate change and physiological processes in plants and how it influences the Earth´s carbon- and water cycles,” says Claudia Mohr, Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and recipient of 31 million SEK (€3 million) from the Knut and Alice Foundation to carry out this work. She continues: “This task will require us to look at many different parts of the climate system, which can only be done with an interdisciplinary team of researchers. We are very excited to be given this opportunity by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.”
Gathering data from climate simulations and harvesting
During the next five years, Claudia Mohr and her colleagues will gather data from the boreal forests of Sweden and tropical forests of Brazil. Using greenhouses set up in Panama, the team will expose tropical plants from the rainforest to an environment designed to simulate future CO2 and temperature conditions, and identify the types of VOCs they will emit. In Sweden, the researchers will collect observational data during harvesting to understand the impact current forest management practices have on emissions of VOCs. According to Mohr, the findings will paint a more accurate picture of the role forests play in climate change.
Watch film and read article on Claudia Mohr´s research on the Knut and Alice Wallenbergs Foundation’s web: Particles provide clues to climate change