Plants could remove six years of carbon dioxide emissions -- if we protect them

ScienceDaily | 8/20/2019 | Staff
samtetley (Posted by) Level 3
The results show trees and plants could remove six years of current emissions by 2100, but only if no further deforestation occurs.

The study, led by Stanford University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and including Imperial College London researchers, is published in Nature Climate Change.

Plants - Carbon - Dioxide - CO2 - Air

As plants grow they take in carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. As CO2 concentrations in the air rise due to human-caused emissions, researchers have suggested that plants will be able to grow larger, and therefore take in more CO2.

However, plant growth is not only due to CO2 concentrations, but relies on the availability of nutrients in the soil, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. If the plants can't get enough nutrients, they will not grow more despite higher CO2 concentrations.

Hundreds - Experiments - Decades - CO2 - Plants

Hundreds of experiments over the past few decades have tried to determine how much extra CO2 plants can take in before the availability of nutrients becomes limiting, but many have come up with different answers.

Now, a group of 32 scientists from 13 countries have analysed all the previous experiments to come up with a global estimate of plants' ability to take in CO2.

Results - Plants - Biomass - Material - Percent

Their results show that globally plants can increase their biomass (organic material) by 12 percent when exposed to concentrations of CO2 predicted for the year 2100.

This extra growth would draw enough CO2 from the atmosphere to cancel out six years of current human-induced emissions.

Result - Plant - Cover - Levels - Deforestation

However, the result is based on plant and forest cover remaining at current levels -- so no further deforestation occurs.

Lead author Dr...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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