Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will continue to rise but how will this impact the plants of the world? Many scientists agree that there will be negatives and positives when it comes to planting survival. A new study, led by University of Washington researchers, has attempted to understand how tropical forest plants and trees – the very forests that absorb most of the CO₂ in the atmosphere – will cope with this massive climate change. The researchers published a study in Global Biogeochemical Cycles.
As Abigail Swann, professor of atmospheric sciences of biology at the aforementioned university explains, the results she and her colleagues obtained through this study show that plants with thicker leaves will be the ones that grow best in tropical forests. They will probably become more common and this will help the future situation in terms of water and carbon exchange rates, rates that could remain, precisely because of the anomalous growth of these types of plants, closer to the current ones.
This is to be explained, according to Swann, in the fact that thicker leaves are able to concentrate nitrogen better and this will improve the photosynthesis rates of those plants.
The researchers conducted some simulations on a tropical wooded island in Panama, simulations that featured the use of evergreen tropical broadleaf trees including wild cashew and Ecuadorian laurel. ”There are still many things that are not. we know how plants are responding to climate change – this work really creates some better assumptions about which plants will grow best in future tropical forests that we can test with more observations, ”Swann says.