Scientists have begun tracking Kaziranga National Park’s behaviour as a carbon sink and source, in a long-term pan-India research project.
The Park, which is flooded annually by the Brahmaputra, is essentially a carbon see-saw with water-logging playing a key role in carbon book keeping during the monsoon months, researchers said.
According to a report published in Mongabay-India, research carried out as part of the ‘Metflux India’ project by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, has revealed that the forest ecosystem shows a see-saw effect: it fluctuates from being a carbon source to sink during the course of the year with the change in seasons.
A forest is considered to be a carbon sink if it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. Plants sponge-off carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis, thus acting as carbon sinks.
In 2016, when Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in Assam, was hit by the ‘worst flood in a decade’, the forest ecosystem laid aside a ‘moderate’ amount of carbon dioxide, a study conducted as part of the project, has stated according to the report.
Researchers were of the view that waterlogging during monsoons has a key role to play in shaping up Kaziranga National Park’s capacity to be a carbon source and sink.
The report further stated that data from June 2015 to July 2016, on the other hand, revealed the possibility of a ‘large amount of carbon sequestration’ on an annual scale in KNP.
The researchers are now analyzing data for the subsequent years including for 2017 which is believed to have brought the worst flood in 30 years to Kaziranga.