Plants and High CO2
I heard somewhere that Global Warming is good for plants
and trees. But isn't there a problem with high levels of CO2?
Photosynthesis: basically, plants need CO2 + water and with the
energy from sunlight produce O2 and food.
Metabolism or rates of photosynthesis generally increase with higher
temperatures, so one can expect faster growth of plants.
But as you hinted at, yes, greenhouse gases including CO2 and
methane, etc., are contributing factors to global warming and climate change.
Global warming is a potential problem for plants since certain plant
species need temperature optimums and would potentially need to
migrate (fast enough) north or south depending upon their required
optimum temperatures. At the same time, there are unknown factors
including the possibly increased uptake of CO2 by plants including
seaweed and algae in oceans but less CO2 uptake by plants in other
situations; the role of clouds, and the complex factors that the sun
and the earth's internal heat play in the whole scenario.
Anthony R. Brach, PhD
Missouri Botanical Garden
c/o Harvard University Herbariam
Click here to return to the Botany Archives
Update: June 2012