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TREES: Facing Up to a Carbon Dioxide Rich Future

Source:  Copyright 2004, Environment News Service
Date:  February 16, 2004
Original URL: Status ONLINE

SEATTLE, Washington, February 16, 2004 (ENS) - An atmosphere richer in carbon dioxide (CO2) than today's atmosphere is forecast by 2050 as increasing amounts of the greenhouse gas are emitted through combustion of fossil fuels. Some scientists have predicted that the trees alive in the CO2 rich air of the future will grow faster than today's trees, absorbing more CO2 in the process.

But a group of studies released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) indicates that planners seeking the mitigation of climate warming cannot count on the increased ability of trees to absorb CO2, known as the ability of a forest to act as a carbon sink.

A symposium today on "CO2 Fertilization: Boon or Bust?" will feature a futuristic Duke University simulation of forest growth under the CO2 enriched atmosphere expected by 2050 that does not reinforce the optimism of those who believe trees ...

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