Alone, more atmospheric CO2 would spur better plant growth. Unfortunately, however, CO2 emissions do not exclusively produce carbon dioxide; the accompanying effects are detrimental to plants. A comprehensive 3-year study conducted at Stanford illustrated that other products of global warming – “higher temperatures, increased precipitation or increased nitrogen deposits in the soil” – create a disadvantageous situation for growth. Interacting factors all play a part.
Increased CO2 enhances the ability of plants to absorb water, allowing plants to develop better root systems that are more extensive and deeper in the soil. For plants in relatively dry areas, this means they can increase their chances of survival by absorbing more water. Increaed CO2 also offsets damages to plants caused by stress factors such as pathogens and pollution.
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