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Volume 3 Number 20:  30 August 2000

Editorial
Biospheric Carbon Sequestration Revisited: Two new studies demonstrate that rising temperatures will not increase the decomposition of organic carbon contained in forest mineral soils.  Hence, and contrary to a concept that has long been "enshrined in models of global change," the world's forests will continue to serve as significant - and probably increasingly important - carbon sinks, "providing a global environmental service by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and thus reducing the rate of CO2-induced warming."

Subject Index Summaries
Rubisco

Journal Reviews
Increase in North American Snow Cover: Real-world observations of snow cover extent and snow water equivalent depict century-long increases in these parameters for the midlatitude regions of North America and Eurasia.

Four Hundred Years of California Precipitation: A 400-year tree-ring-derived history of precipitation in coastal and near-interior California between San Francisco and the U.S.-Mexican border indicates precipitation has increased, while its variability has decreased, over the past century of "frightful" global warming.

Drought in the Northern Great Plains, USA: Proxy climate data derived from sediment cores removed from Pickerel Lake, South Dakota reveal the existence of a 400-year cycle of recurring drought in the Northern Great Plains of the United States that appears to be driven by similar-scale variations in solar activity.

Effects of Elevated CO2 and Soil Nitrogen on Sitka Spruce: Elevated CO2 significantly enhanced both photosynthesis and biomass accumulation in Sitka spruce seedlings when they were grown with optimal levels of soil nitrogen.  However, when seedlings were grown on soils having low nitrogen contents, atmospheric CO2 enrichment increased photosynthesis without causing a concomitant enhancement in biomass, as the benefits of the extra CO2 were all directed belowground.

Elevated CO2 Alters Microbial Populations: Atmospheric CO2 enrichment altered the bacterial community composition associated with nodules of white clover roots, with some bacterial strains being favored over others.