From the Ground Up

As the planet warms plant growth will likely increase—locking up some of that extra carbon dioxide by converting it into vegetative biomass—but that’s not the whole story. 

By | August 1, 2011

Infographic: From the Ground Up
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KEVIN HAND

As the planet warms plant growth will likely increase—locking up some of that extra carbon dioxide by converting it into vegetative biomass—but that’s not the whole story. In addition to direct effects of rising temperatures and altered rainfall, more carbon will also flow through trees down to and out of their roots, altering the activities of complex soil communities. A robust understanding of the dynamics of soil microbial and animal communities has only recently emerged, and some studies posit that soil communities may release more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, creating a positive feedback loop that worsens warming.

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