Questions for “ ‘Tree farts’ make up about a fifth of greenhouse gases from ghost forests”

tree trunks in shallow water

Ghost forests, like this one in North Carolina, are coastal woodlands drowned by sea level rise. These dead woodlands emit heat-trapping gases from their soils and dead trees.

M. Ardón

To accompany “ ‘Tree farts’ make up about a fifth of greenhouse gases from ghost forests


Before Reading:

1.  What is a greenhouse gas? Why are climate scientists and others worried about concentrations of such gases in Earth’s atmosphere?

2.  What are some of the environmental threats posed by sea-level rise?

During Reading:

1.  According to the story, what are tree ‘farts’?

2.  What are ghost forests and how do they form?

3.  Melinda Martinez helped measure tree farts in North Carolina. How did she do it?

4.  What did her measurements show?

5.  Which was a bigger source of greenhouse gases — trees or soils? How much bigger was one than the other?

6.  According to the story, how did Marcelo Ardón come up with the term tree farts?

After Reading:

1.  Do some research and make a list of different greenhouse gases. Not all are equally long-lived in the atmosphere. Not all are equally warming. Make one list ranking them in order of their atmospheric persistence. Make a second list, putting them in order of their warming potential. Based on what you learned, which of the greenhouse gases in tree farts seems to be most worrisome? Explain your reasoning.