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Environ Pollut. 1994;83(1-2):223-35.

Assessment of the impact of rising carbon dioxide and other potential climate changes on vegetation.

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  • 1Agronomy Department, University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida 32611, USA.


The projected doubling of current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO(2)]) during the next century along with increases in other radiatively active gases have led to predictions of increases in global air temperature and shifts in precipitation patterns. Additionally, stratospheric ozone depletion may result in increased ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation incident at the Earth's surface in some areas. Since these changes in the Earth's atmosphere may have profound effects on vegetation, the objectives of this paper are to summarize some of the recent research on plant responses to [CO(2)], temperature and UV-B radiation. Elevated [CO(2)] increases photosynthesis and usually results in increased biomass, and seed yield. The magnitude of these increases and the specific photosynthetic response depends on the plant species, and are strongly influenced by other environmental factors including temperature, light level, and the availability of water and nutrients. While elevated [CO(2)] reduces transpiration and increases photosynthetic water-use efficiency, increasing air temperature can result in greater water use, accelerated plant developmental rate, and shortened growth duration. Experiments on UV-B radiation exposure have demonstrated a wide range of photobiological responses among plants with decreases in photosynthesis and plant growth among more sensitive species. Although a few studies have addressed the interactive effects of [CO(2)] and temperature on plants, information on the effects of UV-B radiation at elevated [CO(2)] is scarce. Since [CO(2)], temperature and UV-B radiation may increase concurrently, more research is needed to determine plant responses to the interactive effects of these environmental variables.

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