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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 14 No. 1, p. 1-8
    Received: Feb 27, 1984

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Research on the Response of Vegetation to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide1

  1. Roger C. Dahlman,
  2. Boyd R. Strain and
  3. Hugo H. Rogers2



The global rise in atmospheric CO2 is an established phenomenon. Irrespective of whether a CO2-induced climate change occurs, it is abundantly clear that the earth's mantle of vegetation will be directly affected by increased CO2 levels. Carbon dioxide is essential for plant growth (plants obtain C from CO2 in the atmosphere); a higher level of CO2 will increase the rate of photosynthesis. Quantitative information on the CO2-induced growth response for field situations is needed for assessments of (i) possible benefits to agriculture, (ii) the amount of fossil C that can be sequestered by CO2-accelerated growth of the biosphere, and (iii) unknown or unidentified effects of CO2 on the physiology, structure, and function of plants and ecosystems. Along with knowledge of CO2 effects on climate and other factors, information on direct plant effects will be used in comprehensive evaluations of policy options related to increasing atmospheric CO2. Herein, a discussion of the plan by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to address the CO2 problem is presented along with research results from two programs, one agricultural and the other ecological.

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