atmospheric CO2 as “the elixir of life.” …

Working with four native tree species of China (Schima superba, Ormosia pinnatta, Castanopsis hystrix and Acmena acuminatissima) over the period of time from January 2006 to January 2010, Li et al. (2015) studied the effects of an approximate 300 ppm increase in the air’s CO2 concentration on the trees’ water use efficiency (WUE), which they did within open-top chambers exposed to full light and rain out-of-doors at the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at Guangzhou, China, either with (CN) or without (CC) added nitrogen (N) fertilization (NH4NO3 applied at a rate of 100 kg N per hectare per year). And what did they thereby learn?

In the words of the eight researchers, “compared to the control, the average increased extents of intrinsic WUE were 98 and 167% in CC and CN treatments for S. superba, 88 and 74% for O. pinnata, 234 and 194% for C. hystrix, and finally, 153 and 81% for A. acuminatissima, which are some pretty incredible increases that likely could not have been achieved by any other means.

And that’s one of the reasons we often refer to atmospheric CO2 as “the elixir of life.”

Been trying to tell people that for years. Fortunately, the Chinese already know. Plant yields and biomass do very well with large increases in Co2. Earlier, we posted on that hippy favorite, Mungbeans.

To check out other species and how CO2 benefits them, click here.

Bush Tomatoes

Bush Tomatoes


About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to
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