29 Dec '14, 2am

Growth of forests may not be keeping pace with rising CO2 levels

Amazon rainforest canopy in Peru. Photo by Rhett A. Butler Plants rely on three critical elements for growth: carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are therefore expected to increase rates of forest growth, in turn helping counter some of humanity's influence on global climate. But a new study provides evidence that challenges that assumption. The research, published as a cover story in Nature Geoscience , is based on analysis of tree ring data — which provide an annual record of growth in some, but not all, tropical tree species — in forests in Bolivia, Cameroon and Thailand. The study reaches the surprising conclusion that despite a 40 percent rise of atmospheric CO2 levels since 1850, the growth rate of tropical trees has not increased. "None of the forests investigated have provided us with evidence of increased tree grow...

Full article: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1215-forest-growth-co2-fert...

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