Little Critters Slowing Carbon Emissions


Image credit: Henrik Larsson

‘Feedback’ occurs when the outputs of a system are ‘fed back’ as inputs to the same system. In the case of carbon emission in soil, when carbon is released, it contributes to global warming, which in turn warms the soil, which increases the rate that carbon is emitted. This accelerates the rate of carbon emission. Scientists have found that worms, insects, and other small animals can play a regulatory role in the soil ecosystems that influence the rate of carbon emission. They can do this by feeding on organisms that trigger carbon emissions from the soil. The scientists have compared this to the ‘Ecology of Fear’ in the Yellowstone National Park, where wolves regulate the number of grazing animals, in turn regulating the number of plants in the ecosystem.


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