• Laith Sharba

CO2 Leakage From The Soil in Congo

Researchers from Florida State University introduced new research about unleashing carbon from the old tropical soil which estimated thousand years old due to fast deforestation and agricultural purposes.

The research team investigated 19 sites in lands located in the east of Congo, they discovered that the lands with difficulty deforestation leach organic CO2 and it looks older and biodegradable more than the CO2 leached from densely forested areas.


Tropical mother and child Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The CO2 discharged from deep soil and mixed with rain in waterways, this kind of CO2 is older and unstable made it microbes favorite nutrition they consume its rich compounds and respire it back to the atmosphere. The researchers think this whole process could be dangerous on the local ecosystem because it increases the greenhouse gases.

Professor Rob Spencer from the Department of earth, ocean, and atmospheric science said that in many ways this looks similar to what happened a hundred years ago in Mississippi River and more recently in the Amazon. The Congo land now facing a heavy conversion to agricultural use. The scientists want to know what is the old carbon emission to the carbon cycle.


Mississippi, United States Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

The wide effect of deforestation in Congo in known by scientists, they published their findings in Nature Geoscience journal, they suggested it is an additional path of carbon into the rivers from soil mixed by deforestation and land conversion.

Travis Drake, the former postdoctoral at Florida State University (FSU) said that it is hard to estimate the volume of this flow and how to compare this process with other anthropogenic sources of carbon but probably more deforestation and the land conversion will make it worse. Drake hopes that this research stimulates more researchers to find out the importance of this process.

In the sites where the carbon discharged and dissolved in rivers and stream water, the researchers analyzed this dissolved carbon so they can identify the different soils in the study sites. They used ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry data generated by cutting-edge tools at the FSU-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the team discovered that the old dissolved CO2 resulted from deforestation sites were more energy and chemically distinct than the regular carbon produced in preserved forests.


In a scientific fact, the forested areas produce more organic carbon than the defrosted areas. But this specific dissolved organic discharged from heavy defrosted and land use changed regions were suited for microbic orgasms consumption because of its rich energy components.

Drake said according to its composition the dissolved organics from defrosted regions were full of many sorts of things that microscopes like to feeding compounds with a lot of nitrogen, the researchers hope the consumption of old carbon came from the soil by the microbial organisms maybe give them an explanation of the high concentration of CO2 they noticed in streams located in defrosted areas.

In developing tropical regions just like the Congo, deforestation-related soil disturbance has the potential to dramatically increase natural action of organic carbon by downfall. That loss of organic matter might compromise soil fertility and cut back the downstream transport of important nutrients that support aquatic and coastal ecosystems.

The organic carbon was isolated in the earth for thousands of years by releasing it due to deforestation and land use conversion it may re-enter to the carbon cycle and this means more greenhouse gases so we should worry about another carbon resource in climate change studies.




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