Biodiversity Meets the Atmosphere: A Global View of Forest Canopies

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Science  11 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5630, pp. 183-186
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084507

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The forest canopy is the functional interface between 90% of Earth's terrestrial biomass and the atmosphere. Multidisciplinary research in the canopy has expanded concepts of global species richness, physiological processes, and the provision of ecosystem services. Trees respond in a species-specific manner to elevated carbon dioxide levels, while climate change threatens plant-animal interactions in the canopy and will likely alter the production of biogenic aerosols that affect cloud formation and atmospheric chemistry.

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