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Higher Carbon Dioxide Lack Of Nitrogen Limit Plant Growth

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  • Pat Neuman
    Higher Carbon Dioxide Lack Of Nitrogen Limit Plant Growth Bethel MN (SPX) Apr 13, 2006 Earth s plant life will not be able to store excess carbon from rising
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2006
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      Higher Carbon Dioxide Lack Of Nitrogen Limit Plant Growth

      Bethel MN (SPX) Apr 13, 2006
      Earth's plant life will not be able to "store" excess carbon from
      rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as well as scientists once
      thought because plants likely cannot get enough nutrients, such as
      nitrogen, when there are higher levels of carbon dioxide, according
      to scientists publishing in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
      That, in turn, is likely to dampen the ability of plants to offset
      increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

      "We found that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may rise even
      faster than anticipated, because ecosystems likely will not store as
      much carbon as had been predicted," said Peter Reich of the
      University of Minnesota, lead author of the study, which was
      conducted at the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Cedar Creek
      Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in Minn.

      "As a result, soils will be unable to sustain plant growth over time
      [as atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to increase]," said plant
      ecologist David Ellsworth of the University of Michigan.

      Estimating the role of terrestrial ecosystems as current and future
      sinks--or storage places--for excess carbon dioxide hinges on an
      ability to understand the complex interaction between atmospheric
      carbon dioxide and nitrogen in soils, the scientists believe.

      The six-year study, the longest of its kind, sheds light on the
      relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and plant
      productivity. In the experiment, scientists grew 16 different
      grassland plants in 296 field plots. The plots were exposed to both
      ambient and elevated carbon dioxide levels, and varying levels of
      nitrogen.

      The study was designed to document plants' ability to grow and
      flourish in nitrogen-depleted soil, which, scientists believe, will
      become more common as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise. Said
      Henry Gholz, director of NSF's LTER program, "Results from this
      research echo those of other studies of nitrogen's importance to
      trees and agricultural crops. In the future, the effects of rising
      carbon dioxide on plants may become common throughout the world."

      The Minn. study, with its range of species, provides a broad test of
      carbon dioxide and nitrogen interactions, said Reich. Previous
      studies have been done with a single or a few plant species.


      The study was designed to document plants' ability to grow and
      flourish in nitrogen-depleted soil, which, scientists believe, will
      become more common as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise.
      by Staff Writers


      The Cedar Creek LTER is one of 26 such LTER sites supported by NSF.

      Related Links
      Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research
      National Science Foundation
      University of Minnesota

      http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Higher_Carbon_Dioxide_Lack_Of_Nitro
      gen_Limit_Plant_Growth.html
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