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Young Fir Trees To Save Mankind From Excess Carbon Dioxide In Atmosphere
24.01.2006 13:12
Young Fir Trees To Save Mankind From Excess Carbon Dioxide In Atmosphere

Dont worry if carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere doubles young fir trees will consume excess greenhouse gas. Scientists from Russia and China test fir trees ability for accumulation within Changing climate and environment: natural disasters basic research programme of Russian Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation of China and Scientific Post Doctor Fund of Heilongjiang.
      When carbon dioxide concentration in atmosphere exceeds its optimum, young fir trees starts accumulating carbon in their thick roots, concluded Russian and Chinese biologists after thorough studying of growth and gas exchange of young Koyama spruces under conditions of doubled carbon dioxide concentration.
      Global community is still concerned about possible increase of carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration. Now its concentration is negligibly small 0.03%, but experts expect it to double in the first half of this century. Mankind is afraid of greenhouse effect and abrupt climate changes.
      Carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration in many ways depend on green plants activity rate of consuming carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and binding it, while building organic compounds. Part of photosynthetic carbon dioxide moves to plants roots and is stored in soil for hundreds of years. Thus, carbon distribution in plants terrestrial and underground part is essential for predicting how much atmospheric 2 plants will consume.
      One hectare of taiga forest of Northern Eurasia binds up to two tons of atmospheric carbon each year. Young forests consume more carbon and, while growing, they emit more carbon dioxide.
      Biologists performed their experiment on two-year-old Koyama spruces (Picea koraiensis). The trees grew from June to August in 5.5 l containers filled with sandy gray forest soil. Containers were placed in climatic chambers under certain temperature and light regimes. Control plants were grown under normal concentration of carbon dioxide (335 ppm). Gas concentration in climatic chambers for test plants was doubled.
      The experiment showed that young fir trees got used to excess carbon and consumed it intensely compared to control plants. Test fir trees became green in carbon-rich atmosphere and met the end of August with 50% weight addition to their needles. Excessive organic mater transferred to thick roots, sharing about a half of tree weight. Control trees, which spent three months under normal conditions, showed branch and thin root growth. Needle growth wasnt detected, and as for thick roots, their dry weight was 1.6 lower than test trees thick roots. This means that under normal conditions plants accumulate less and emit more carbon, compared to trees, growing in carbon-rich atmosphere.
      Accumulation of organic compounds in plant thick roots can be explained by adaptive response to excess carbon dioxide concentrations. Other biologists had also detected such phenomenon, but in case of beech test plants. It is also possible that doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere launches stress reaction of plants, which is usually root weight increase. Anyway, young Koyama spruces are able to bind excess atmospheric carbon dioxide in their thick root system, and transfer it to soil for long-term storage.
      Elements - Popular Science


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