Research highlight

Plant stimulus and constraint

Nature Climate Change

October 1, 2012

Nitrogen availability can constrain the carbon dioxide fertilization effect - stimulation of plant growth by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations - according to a long-term experimental study published online this week in Nature Climate Change.

Stimulation of plant growth and the resultant removal of carbon from the atmosphere could act to damp the future rate of climate change, but the persistence of this effect in the face of other limiting factors remains uncertain. Peter Reich and Sarah Hobbie indicate that incorporation of such interactions into Earth system models are likely to be necessary to improve prediction of CO2 fertilization effects and their impacts on the global carbon cycle.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate1694

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