Insect control and tree planting could greatly affect
Earth’s greenhouse gases, according to NASA scientists.
Greenhouse gasses are in Earth’s atmosphere and warm the

The scientists presented their findings today during the fall
meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Their research showed how human control of insects, tree
planting and other factors could affect Earth’s greenhouse

“Planting trees on marginal agricultural lands could
sequester carbon and offset at least one-fifth of the annual
fossil fuel emission of carbon in the United States,” said
Christopher Potter, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research
Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “Scientists also have found
outbreaks of plant-eating insects may be linked with periodic
droughts and heat waves in North America, which can trigger
large seasonal losses of carbon dioxide back to the
atmosphere.” Potter added.

The scientists report a Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite-driven computer model
that predicts forest re-growth conservatively projects, 0.3
billion metric tons of carbon could be stored annually in
trees growing on relatively low-production crop or rangeland
areas in the United States.

A second study involved large-scale disturbances to
greenhouse gases detected using global satellite data. “A
historical picture is emerging of periodic droughts and heat
waves, possibly coupled with herbivorous insect outbreaks, as
among the most important causes of ecosystem disturbances in
North America,” Potter said.

The findings about tree planting and insect control were the
subjects of two peer-reviewed technical papers Potter co-
authored. Other co-authors of the paper related to tree
planting included Matthew Fladeland, also from Ames; Steven
Klooster, Vanessa Genovese and Marc Kramer, from California
State University, Monterey Bay, Calif.

Potter’s co-authors for the second study were Pang-Ning Tan,
Michigan State University, East Lansing; Vipin Kumar,
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; and Klooster.

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