Tracking volatile organic compounds
It is well-known that vegetation, and forests in particular, play an important role in the carbon cycle. Researchers have now become interested in other chemical compounds produced by plants which play an important role in atmospheric pollution and even in climate change: these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). More than two thousand of these compounds have been identified. Some of them, such as isoprene, for example, which are emitted by forests in large quantities, are currently being studied by scientists. A recent study compiled 28 measuring programs which were conducted virtually all over the world in order to compare the modeling of isoprene emissions with actual emissions in nature in accordance with climate and the natural environment (tundra, temperate forests etc.). The measurements carried out by Bernard Heinesch and his collaborators at the Unit of Biosystems Physics at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liege) in the forest of Vielsalm have been included in this study. They have thus been able to demonstrate outside the laboratory that the production of isoprene is linked to photosynthesis and therefore to the quantity of carbon absorbed by the plant.