Extreme Weather 

New Research: Elevated CO2 Alleviates the Effects of Drought on Lemon Trees

An Israeli research team of seven scientists examined the interactive effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations and drought on lemon trees.

Over a four-month period they exposed one-year-old saplings to one of three CO2 regimes: 400, 650 or 800 ppm, and two watering cycles: adequate water and drought.

Their results indicate that under adequate water conditions the CO2-enriched trees had greater rates of photosynthesis than those in ambient air (400 ppm), averaging 18% and 33% higher in the 650 and 850 ppm treatments, respectively.

Under drought conditions, trees in all CO2 treatments exhibited a negative carbon balance, although the balance was only about half as negative under elevated CO2 compared to control.

What is more, following the drought period and upon re-watering, the authors report that “photosynthesis recovered in all trees, but more so in trees grown under elevated CO2.”

Lemon saplings after 4 weeks exposure to the same drought regime. Source: Paudel et al. (2018).

Commenting on their findings, Paudel et al. say their results indicate that rising atmospheric CO2 increases tree growth and alleviates the effects of drought. It compensates for drought effects in lemon saplings via stomatal downregulation, increased soil moisture, and increased wood carbon storage.

Carbon dioxide is, was, and always will be plant food; beneficial to life and biodiversity on our planet.

For the full article from co2science, click here.

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