Biology

Can trees absorb all the excess CO2 that is generated in the atmosphere?

Trees provide us with many benefits such as cleaning the air and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. They are one of the keys to solving climate change along with limiting the use of fossil fuels and stopping deforestation.

The question that remains in the air is, can trees absorb all the excess CO2 that is generated in the atmosphere? To answer this question, many different studies have been made, such as growing plants in chambers full of CO2, fumigating forests with CO2 …

Limited CO2 fixation

For this, it is essential to take into account that the fixation of CO2 by trees depends a lot on two nutrients that act as limiting factors : nitrogen and phosphorus.

In a new study published in Nature Climate , these factors have been taken into account to predict how CO2 will be absorbed by the atmosphere.

Can trees absorb all the excess CO2
Can trees absorb all the excess CO2

To try to draw some conclusion in this regard, the aforementioned studies were reviewed with statistical methods, machine learning, satellite models, climatic factors … to see how the ability of plants and trees to fix carbon dioxide is limited.

The conclusion of the study is that the CO2 levels expected by 2100 should increase plant biomass by 12%, which is equivalent to 6 years of current fossil fuel emissions.

The study highlights the associations trees forge with soil microbes and fungi to help them absorb the extra nitrogen and phosphorus they need to balance their additional carbon dioxide intake, such as through mycorrhizae .

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