"This suggests a less optimistic scenario for how much of the elevated CO2 the plant systems can soak up,'' said Reich, a professor in the department of forest resources.
The researchers did their study by tending 296 field plots containing different numbers and combinations of perennial grassland species. They subjected each to one of four conditions: some got added soil nitrogen, others got added atmospheric carbon dioxide, and still others got added levels of each. The rest got standard levels of nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Researchers measured the amount of plant material produced in each setting. After four to six years, plots receiving more nitrogen absorbed at least three times as much extra carbon under higher carbon-dioxide conditions than did plots without any extra nitrogen.
Climate modelers will have to revise the assumption, and policy makers need to take note that climate change will be more extreme than earlier predicted. Finally this puts the kibosh on the tactic of the global warming denial crowd who say the carbon dioxide rich atmosphere will be good for plant growth when eventully forced to admit to warming.
Personally I think the future is big for legumes.
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