How much extra carbon dioxide will trees take up this century?

Published by Ecoss on

Ecoss’ Bruce Hungate and Victor Leshyk co-authored a study on the “CO2 fertilization effect”. The study was led by César Terrer and Rob Jackson and published in Nature Climate Change.

Although excessive CO2 often harms forests by warming the planet, making droughts more severe and insect pests more abundant, CO2 in the air is also food for plants. Extra carbon on a plant’s plate will usually increase photosynthesis and biomass—but only to a point. The more carbon dioxide concentrations rise, the less additional benefit trees may receive unless they can find additional nitrogen and phosphorus to balance their diet.”

How much extra carbon dioxide trees will take up this century is a critical uncertainty in predicting global warming. Will trees keep absorbing a quarter or so of fossil-fuel emissions, as they do today. Read the paper here and an article in Scientific American.