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Question:
Do plants release any carbon into the environment?


Replies:
Yes, although plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starches through photosynthesis, plants also undergo respiration (most plants respire at night) releasing carbon dioxide http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/94/5/647 and plants also release methane into the atmosphere: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0111_060111_plant_methane.html

Of course, fossil fuel burning releases carbon compounds originally from plants millions of years ago.

Anthony R. Brach, PhD
Missouri Botanical Garden
Harvard University Herbaria



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