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Contact: Morgan Kelly
Princeton University

Forest Photo (1 of 2)

Caption: A Princeton University-based study found that a unique housing arrangement between trees in the legume family and the carbo-loading rhizobia bacteria may determine how well tropical forests can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, especially forests recovering from exploitation. The researchers found that legume trees gave tracts of land that were pasture only 12 years before the ability to store 50 metric tons of carbon per hectare (2.47 acres), which equates to roughly 185 tons of carbon dioxide, or the exhaust of some 21,285 gallons of gasoline. The photo above is of a tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

Credit: Photo by Marcos Guerra, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

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Related news release: Tropical forest carbon absorption may hinge on an odd couple

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