On February 10th Peter van der Sleen (former PhD student with FEM and CSA) was awarded the first prize at the Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting in Lunteren for his publication:
Van der Sleen P, Groenendijk P, Vlam M, Anten NPR, Boom A Bongers F, Pons TL Terburg G, Zuidema PA. (2015) No growth stimulation of tropical trees by 150 years of CO2 fertilization but water-use efficiency increased. Nature Geosciences 8: 24-28
Intact tropical forests have been reported to increase in biomass over time, thereby absorbing a significant fraction of human-caused CO2 emissions. It is commonly believed that the rise of atmospheric CO2 is fertilizing tropical trees, allowing them to grow faster, but clear evidence for this hypothesis has so far been lacking. Van der Sleen et al. tested this CO2 fertilization hypothesis using an analysis of growth-ring data from 1100 trees at three sites distributed across the tropics. They showed that water-use efficiency of trees consistently increased over the past 150 years. However, the hypothesized acceleration of individual tree growth was not found. This suggests that the widespread assumption of CO2-induced stimulation of tropical tree growth may not be valid and calls for reconsiderations of these effects global vegetation models.
For the full publication, please see here.