BEIJING, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have proved that tree species richness has increased ecosystem carbon storage in subtropical forests, according to the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Forest ecosystems are an integral component of the global carbon cycle as they take up and release large amounts of carbon over short time periods or accumulate it over longer time periods.
However, there remains uncertainty about whether carbon fluxes and stocks differ between forests of high and low species richness.
Scientists from China, Germany and Switzerland monitored 27 forest plots in Gutianshan Nature Reserve of east China's Zhejiang Province over six years.
They found that species-rich forest plots had higher carbon stocks and fluxes than the plots with lower species richness. In addition, old forest plots had higher carbon stocks than young ones.
The forest ecosystems with higher species richness had faster carbon cycle rates. Meanwhile, more carbon can be reserved above or below ground in stems, roots, dead and drying wood, litter and soil, according to the scientists.