Can CO2 Help Grow Rainforests?

Researchers in the Amazon are measuring how much carbon dioxide fertilizes the rainforest.

By | April 24, 2013

Brazilian rainforestWIKIMEDIA, SEABIRDSIn the climate change equation, rainforests have been something of an unknown. Would the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilize the plants, in turn helping them draw even more of the warming gas out of the atmosphere? Or could CO2 kill the forests, resulting in the release of even more gas and accelerated global warming. Modelers working on the problem have disagreed as to the mostly likely fate of this ecosystem.

After a 2-day meeting in Washington, D.C., a group of international researchers have devised a plan to find out. They hope to build an ambitious structure that will release excess carbon dioxide throughout a patch of rainforest over the course of a decade. Modeled after similar experiments in the Northern Hemisphere, the researchers would build a ring of 16 towers, about 30 meters in diameter, around a section of the Brazilian rainforest. Sensors in the towers would monitor ambient carbon dioxide and inject more gas as needed. If all goes well, the researchers plan to add additional rings in other locations to replicate the experiment.

The researchers estimated the project would cost about $10 million for the first phase and are looking for funding from various governments and agencies. “Let’s do it right,” Jerry Melillo, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, told Nature. “We only get one chance.”


Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo


Avatar of: kienhoa68


Posts: 33

April 25, 2013

I think we already have good information as to the benefits of added CO2.

How about the equally telling effects temperature and rainfall will have on the variety of trees.

Avatar of: bbbbbbb


Posts: 1

May 17, 2013

How does this experiament make any sense...?  Seems like an easy way for them to manipulate date.  How many variables are going to have to be accounted for in an open experiament like this.

You would think they would do this in a greenhouse, or indoors.  But thats right, they have, and of course plants benefit from added CO2.

Go to any indoor or greenhouse and they will have CO2 burners, dispensiers and closely monitor them.

Also, did you know, most plants can use 1500PPM in optimum growing conditions!!!

Thermo Scientific
Thermo Scientific

Popular Now

  1. Sex Differences in the Brain
    Features Sex Differences in the Brain

    How male and female brains diverge is a hotly debated topic, but the study of model organisms points to differences that cannot be ignored.

  2. Brain Gain
    Features Brain Gain

    Young neurons in the adult human brain are likely critical to its function.

  3. DNA Repair Pioneers Win Nobel
    Daily News DNA Repair Pioneers Win Nobel

    Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work elucidating mechanisms of DNA repair.

  4. Antiparasite Drug Developers Win Nobel
    Daily News Antiparasite Drug Developers Win Nobel

    William Campbell, Satoshi Omura, and Youyou Tu have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their contributions to antiparasitic drug development.

INTEGRA Biosciences
INTEGRA Biosciences
Life Technologies