Tree farts

Secret of the Hissing Trees

It’s been known since around the 1970’s that a relatively rare bacterial infection in trees responsible for the damaging rot known as wet wood can cause trees to emit methane, a greenhouse gas with 20 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. Trees in wetland soils can also act as straws, sipping methane from soggy, oxygen-poor soil.

But scientists from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies believe that trees in upland forests infected with an almost ubiquitous fungus may also be a significant source of the potent greenhouse gas. Their findings appeared this week in Geophysical Review Letters.

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