Study: Plants absorb more carbon dioxide as atmospheric levels grow

By on July 25, 2013
Rainforest in Borneo (Credit: Insight Sabah)

Increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may lead to increased absorption of carbon dioxide by plants, according to a Smithsonian Institute blog post.

Bert Drake, a Smithsonian plant physiologist, tested plants in ambient air and in elevated carbon dioxide conditions during the past 19 years.  He kept some plants in chambers so that they would constantly experience carbon dioxide conditions that were double the starting carbon dioxide saturation of the air, at 700 parts per million.

He found C3 plants in high CO2 environments absorbed 32 percent more carbon than C3 plants in ambient air. About 95 percent of the world’s plants fall into the C3 category. Drake also found C4 plants increased their carbon absorption by 13 percent.

Image: Rainforest in Borneo (Credit: Insight Sabah)

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