Fungi as carbon keepers

A common type of fungus stores most of a forest floor’s carbon underground

By Stephen Ornes, 12:40 PM April 11, 2013


A recent study of forested Swedish islands found that tiny fungi in the soil store most of the carbon found in the forest floor. Credit: Photo courtesy of Karina Clemmensen


A new study suggests that tiny organisms living underground may hoard most of the carbon in Swedish forest floors. That’s a good thing for the environment: If the carbon remains stashed in the soil, then it’s not escaping into the atmosphere. There, it could contribute to global warming.


And what’s happening in Sweden may be happening in forests elsewhere around the world.


These organisms, called mycorrhizal fungi, grow on tree roots. They provide trees with nutrients in exchange for their ...

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