BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A fossilized forest in Norway was linked to climate change almost 400 million years ago. The forest was discovered by a team of U.K. researchers and was linked to a 15 fold drop in carbon dioxide levels during the latter part of a period known as the Devonian period.
The forest, which has been dated to 380 million years ago by Professor John Marshall of Southampton University, seems to have appeared around the time when trees first started to draw carbon dioxide out of the air using photosynthesis as well as surrounding soil formation.
Researchers explain that the forest still has tree stumps in place and shows similar vegetation and landscapes to those found in the equator and are consistent with a time period of 380 million years ago, when the first forests and large trees were emerging on Earth.
Dr. Chris Berry from Cardiff University was the one to first identify the forest located in Norway. He explained that, according to his findings, the emergence of the first tall trees happened during that era and that, in the beginning, they absorbed a lot more radiation for the Sun compared to the rest of the vegetation which was a lot smaller in size.
But the once high temperatures eventually lowered to levels similar to what they are today because of the reduction in the carbon dioxide concentration found in the atmosphere. According to the researchers these early equatorial forests are likely to have provided a great contribution to the reduction of the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, especially because of the high temperatures and large rainfall amounts usually recorded in the area.
It seems that these ancient forests were mostly made up of lycopod trees, which went on to grow for millions of years in coal swamps and eventually became coal deposits. They were very dense and the trees were estimated to be approximately 13 feet tall.
Dr. Berry also explained that, soon after these forests began to appear, the ecology of the plants found in the forests as well as the geographical diversity came to exist. This would indicate that these first tall trees growing only roughly 8 inches apart from one another in dense forests have contributed significantly to the reduction of the carbon dioxide concentration found in the atmosphere, since they used photosynthesis to extract the CO2 from the air.
The trees used carbon dioxide in order to build their own tissues and to form the soil around them.
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