Net Primary Production of a Forest Ecosystem with Experimental CO2 Enrichment

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Science  14 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5417, pp. 1177-1179
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5417.1177

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The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide was increased by 200 microliters per liter in a forest plantation, where competition between organisms, resource limitations, and environmental stresses may modulate biotic responses. After 2 years the growth rate of the dominant pine trees increased by about 26 percent relative to trees under ambient conditions. Carbon dioxide enrichment also increased litterfall and fine-root increment. These changes increased the total net primary production by 25 percent. Such an increase in forest net primary production globally would fix about 50 percent of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide projected to be released into the atmosphere in the year 2050. The response of this young, rapidly growing forest to carbon dioxide may represent the upper limit for forest carbon sequestration.

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