We generally think of trees as one of our biggest natural allies in the fight against global warming. And they are - they suck up billions of tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide every year.
But in an interesting new twist, scientists have now found that the army of green might be spewing large quantities of methane into the atmosphere every year. Methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, and the new study, written about here, suggests that trees could be partially to blame for the recent sharp rise in methane concentrations.
According to the study, trees don't produce the methane themselves - so we'll just end all discussion of the "Farting Tree study" now. Instead, soil bacteria are the ones doing the tooting, in microscopic amounts. The trees are merely the conduit, sucking methane out of the soil and depositing it in the air, like chimneys (actually that's a matter of debate - a study a few years ago suggested that trees do fart. This one makes it look like they don't).