Won’t increased levels of CO2 just lead to a “greener” planet?
Yes, but there’s a catch. Plants utilize CO2 for growth, so, the theory goes, the more CO2 there is, the more plant growth we should see. This is called “CO2 fertilization”. Some species of plant life respond well to it; others don’t. Responsiveness depends on many different factors including plant type, root structure, geographical location, and surrounding plant species. And its viability as an increased carbon sink is tempered by environmental factors such as the availability of nutrients in the soil. It also has its negative impacts including decreased levels of respiration and lower levels of nutrients within the plant. It does not make for a sufficient carbon sink to offset anthropogenic emissions of CO2.
- Future forests may absorb more carbon dioxide than current forests (Dec 8, 2005)
- How do we know that recent CO2 increases are due to human activities? (Dec 22, 2004)
- CO2 Fertilization (Nov 28, 2004)
- Tropical rain forest tree growth and atmospheric carbon dynamics linked to interannual temperature variation during 1984-2000 (2003)
- Tree root life controls CO2 absorbtion (Nov 24, 2003)
- Grassland Study Suggests End Of “Free Ride” On Carbon Dioxide Absorption By Ecosystems (May 15, 2002)
- Study of Plants Makes a Case for Biodiversity (Apr 16, 2001)