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Enriched Atmosphere

Cedar Creek research demonstrates that anticipated atmospheric CO2 levels predicted for 2075 will increase plant growth and carbon sequestration in grasslands in fertile areas, but only weakly in arid ecosystems with low nitrogen. These results suggest that ultimately atmospheric CO2 levels will rise faster than predicted by leading models.

Peter Reich
Change in total (above-ground plus 0±20 cm belowground) biomass (compared with ambient levels of both CO2 and N) in response to elevated CO2 alone (at ambient soil N), to enriched N alone (at ambient CO2), and to the combination of elevated CO and enriched soil N, for plots containing 1, 4, 9 or 16 species. Data were averaged for 4 harvests over 2 yr. Per cent change is shown above each histogram for each diversity treatment.
Reich et al. 2001
Effects of S at a standardized F on biomass and biomass responses to elevated CO2 and enriched N. (A) In experiment I, total biomass (above-ground plus below-ground, 0– 20 cm in depth; +1 SE) for plots planted with one functional group (F = 1) and either one or four species, grown at four combinations of ambient (368 μmol•mol-1) and elevated (560 μmol•mol-1) concentrations of CO2 and ambient N and enriched N (4 g•m-2•year-1). Data were averaged over two harvests in each year from 1998 to 2001. (B) In experiment I, the change in total biomass (compared with ambient levels of both CO2 and N) in response to elevated CO2 alone (at ambient N), to enriched N alone (at ambient CO2), and to the combination of elevated CO2 and enriched N, pooled across years, for plots with F = 1 and S = 1 or 4. Effects of F at a standardized S on biomass and biomass responses to elevated CO2 and enriched N. All data were from experiment III. (C) Total biomass (aboveground plus below-ground, 0–20 cm in depth; +1 SE) for plots planted with four species (S = 4) drawn from 1, 2, 3, or 4 functional groups, grown at four combinations of ambient (368 μmol•mol-1) and elevated (560 μmol•mol-1) concentrations of CO2 and ambient N and enriched N (4 g•m-2•year-1). Data were averaged over two harvests in each year from 1998 to 2001. (D) Change in total biomass (compared with ambient levels of both CO2 and N) in response to elevated CO2 alone (at ambient N), to enriched N alone (at ambient CO2), and to the combination of elevated CO2 and enriched N, in each year, for plots with S=4 and F=1, 2, 3, or 4.
Reich et al. PNAS 2004

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