NCBS scientists study carbon cycle in rainforests

A 30-member scientists team, led by Dr Mahesh Shankaran and Dr Jayashri Ratnam, is conducting such studies in four places across the country.

In the backdrop of climate change, the National Centre for Biological Sciences, a subsidiary of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, has taken up a study on the carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption by evergreen forests of Western Ghats, at Nilkunda forest area in Siddapur taluk.

A 30-member scientists team, led by Dr Mahesh Shankaran and Dr Jayashri Ratnam, is conducting such studies in four places across the country.

Raghavendra H V, the convener NCBS field research station, Janmane, told DH, "We selected Nilkunda, also known as 'Chirapunji of Karnataka', as it records high amount of rainfall. Also, human intervention is very less in the region. In fact, the study, which started in 2011, will continue for the next 40 years. The NCBS has set up a field research station at Janmane in Sirsi taluk."

"Apart from studying the evergreen forests' ability to soak up CO2, the NCBS scientists are looking into the seasonal behaviour of various varieties of trees, growth, thickness of tree bark, chemical changes in leaves, seed fall and the number of seeds that sprout naturally, process and time taken for percolation of rainwater among others," he said.

"The NCBS team collects fall leaves once in 15 days, crush dry leaves and record the chemical changes using carbon-nitrogen analyser. The scientists are taking due caution to ensure no damage done to the natural system by putting the dry leave powder back to the forest. Also, the amount of CO2 emission by trees and soil is being measured with the environmental gas analyser method. The devices fitted to trees record temperature, wind speed and soil moisture once in half-an-hour," the field research station convener explained.

Also, awareness programmes are being organised locally to educate the people about the study, he added.

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NCBS scientists study carbon cycle in rainforests

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