19 September 2013
A team of researchers report in Nature that legumes, which fix atmospheric nitrogen into a useable form for other plants, grow faster than other trees in the earliest phase of a forest’s re-growth. The find highlights the pivotal role that just one group of plants – in collaboration with some useful bacteria – plays in growing up an entire forest that, as a carbon dioxide absorber, ultimately becomes the entire planet’s ally against global warming.
“This is a group of species that are helpers to the rest of the forest,” says Lars Hedin, a professor at Princeton University and a co-author on the paper.
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