Eco Tech: Nitrogen doped trees can fight climate change
Eco Factor: Nitrogen fertilization increases leaf albedo.
We all know that trees suck up carbon dioxide and release the all important oxygen for us to breathe. This natural phenomenon has until now saved our planet from getting too hot for life to thrive. However, with rapid industrialization and technological revolution, the amounts of carbon dioxide have increased. The reduction in the number of trees and the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has sent the warning bells ringing. Efforts have commenced to develop the world with technology that’s not harmful for the environment. While such technologies promise a better future, the present demands strategies to rectify all wrongs that have already been done.
The amount of carbon content in the air has worried one and all. Federico Magnani, a researcher at the University of Bologna in Italy, believes that doping trees with nitrogen not only stimulates their ability to absorb more carbon dioxide, but also increases their albedo. Magnani has come to this conclusion after a decade long research. He and his colleagues say that adding a mere 3 grams of nitrogen per square meter could just be the key to get rid of the huge amounts of carbon in the air. They now state that a program of annual nitrogen fertilization in the northern hemisphere could potentially create a new sink for carbon dioxide.
The Dark Side:
While the results of the research seem promising, there are some scientists who believe that adding nitrogen to soil would result in nitrous oxide emissions, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Moreover, the technique works on only a few species of trees and to get any benefits we would have to plant entire forests made just out of those few species.