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Thursday, August 21 2014 @ 07:57 PM EDT

True or False: Trees

Teak & Reforestation(CNN) -- True or False: More carbon dioxide is good news for trees as it will boost growth levels. The answer is: FALSE Trees evidently need carbon dioxide (CO2) to survive, and in some cases plant life can benefit from increased CO2, but over time more CO2 does not necessarily mean more life. Some experiments have found that exposing plants or trees to enhanced levels of CO2 have resulted in higher growth levels, but according to the New Scientist, these bursts in growth "have tended to level off within a few years" because of other factors, often related to water or nitrogen levels - and notably, temperature. Higher CO2 levels will bring climate changes to different regions which will have a direct impact on plant growth, to the extent that in some cases, any advantages increased CO2 levels may have on plant life could be counteracted by the impact of increased CO2 levels on the weather. This has been shown in the tropics, for example, where the majority of the world's rainforests lie. A study of rainforest plots in Panama and Malaysia found that an increase in temperature of 1 degree Centigrade actually reduced tree growth by as much as 50 percent.
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